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Kerry Cites 'Significant Progress' in Last 24 Hours

"What happened in the course of the last day has opened up a number of different possibilities,” says US diplomat.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/7/2013, 4:18 PM

John Kerry
John Kerry
Flash 90

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he has made "significant progress" in the course of the last 24 hours in some areas of Israeli-Palestinian talks, after reaffirming US opposition to Israeli settlements.

"We made significant progress in our discussions about a couple of areas of concern in the panorama of the concerns we have," Kerry told reporters in Amman after meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

“It is important for us to be able to proceed carefully and quietly," he said.

"I am convinced in my judgement what happened in the course of the last day has opened up a number of different possibilities for things that can be included as we go forward."

Kerry, who has fought to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations back on track despite recriminations on both sides, had earlier held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

“We've created some clarity on some of the points," Kerry said. "I was pleased."

Kerry is scheduled later in the day to hold another round of talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, this time in the Jordanian capital.

As the US top diplomat doubles down on efforts to bridge the gaps in the peace negotiations he will return to Jerusalem on Friday for a previously unscheduled breakfast meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

US officials told journalists that Kerry's schedule had changed, but it was not immediately clear if he would then return to Amman, where he had been due to spend the night before leaving as scheduled for the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Kerry told Israeli President Shimon Peres, "I'm convinced from my conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as with President Abbas that this is not mission impossible, this can happen.”

“It will require both leaders to make big, historic, difficult decisions but I'm also convinced those are decisions that are absolutely, totally in the interests of their country Israel and their country to be, Palestine and in the interest of both people's,” he added.

“President Obama has asked me to put this time into this effort, he is deeply committed to this cause and we believe that over the next months, with good effort, we hopefully can make some progress," declared Kerry.