Livni and Kerry Meet in London to 'Catch Up'
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met on Thursday with Israel's chief peace negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in London, AFP reported.
Officials in Washington emphasized the surprise meeting happened because Kerry and Livni both happened to be in London at the same time and was not indicative of new developments in the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The meeting, according to the State Department, "it provided an opportunity for them to catch up since the pause in the negotiations."
According to AFP, Kerry voiced concern after two Palestinian Arabs were shot dead by Israeli forces Thursday during a violent protest on “Nakba Day”, commemorating what the Arabs view as the "catastrophe" of Israel's establishment.
Kerry "again urges both sides to refrain from unhelpful steps," a senior State Department official said in a statement quoted by the news agency.
"He is concerned about the violent incident that took place today outside the Ofer prison and calls upon both sides to exercise maximum restraint."
Kerry’s meeting with Livni came one day after he met PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in London for what was described as “informal talks”.
Kerry gave Livni the same message as he had stressed to Abbas - that the fate of the talks lies in the hands of Israel and the PA.
"While the door remains open to peace, the parties must determine whether they are willing to take the steps necessary to resume negotiations," an official told AFP.
Kerry had also reiterated to Abbas on Wednesday that any new government must recognize Israel and commit to non-violence.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague later tweeted to confirm he had also met with Livni for talks on the peace process, urging that the "opportunity for peace must be seized".
Israel pulled out of the talks a few weeks ago in response to a Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, which would see the Hamas terrorist group forming a unity government with Abbas’s movement.