U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted on Thursday that the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas had been unexpected.
Speaking in Ethiopia, where he said it was time for the United States to take a "pause" in Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace talks, Kerry said that the deal announced last week took the U.S. by surprise, according to The Associated Press (AP).
That deal, he noted, "came as a complete and total unannounced event, without any heads-up, so to speak, at the moment of important negotiations.
Hamas has called for the destruction of the state of Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., European Union and other counties worldwide.
Kerry said, however, that both Israeli and PA leaders have signaled they want to find a way to continue negotiating.
"We believe the best thing to do right now is pause, take a hard look at these things, and find out what is possible and what is not possible in the days ahead," Kerry said, according to AP.
Earlier this week, Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the top diplomat has “no regrets” about investing time in the peace talks, despite their failure.
Last week, Psaki denied that Kerry’s efforts to secure a peace treaty had failed, saying instead that the talks are in a “moment of transition”.