Skip to main content

Kerry: U.S. committed to 'fair,' 'balanced ideas for Mideast talks

By Faith Karimi and Yousuf Basil, CNN
January 5, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press after a meeting with the Palestinian president.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press after a meeting with the Palestinian president.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "All of the core issues are on the table," Kerry said
  • Kerry meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders multiple times during his visit
  • He applauds both sides for their hard work, saying he has a timeline in mind
  • This is his ninth trip to the region since taking over as secretary of State nearly a year ago

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday he's making progress in Middle East peace talks, stressing that the Obama administration "is committed to putting forward ideas that are fair, that are balanced, and that improve the security of all of the people of this region."

"I can tell everybody all of the core issues are on the table," he told reporters in Jerusalem. "The difficult issues of security, of territory, borders, the future of the refugee issue, the status ultimately of the city of Jerusalem, and the end of conflict and of claims. How you arrive at a fair resolution of all of these complicated issues is obviously at the core of what we are talking about."

Kerry briefed reporters after multiple meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He declined to provide details on his efforts, but he commended both sides for their hard work, saying he has a timeline in mind but won't share it.

"Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have already made important decisions and courageous decisions, difficult decisions," Kerry told reporters.

"We're at the table today because of the determination to try to resolve this issue, and both of them have made the tough choices to stay at that table. We are now at a point where the choices narrow down and the choices are obviously real and difficult. And so we -- the United States, President Obama, myself -- will do everything in our power to help the parties be able to see the road ahead in ways that will meet the interests of both of their peoples."

Kerry left Jerusalem for Jordan and Saudi Arabia and met with leaders in those countries.

As for the Middle East peace initiative, Kerry has floated a proposal based on five months of intensive consultations with Israelis and Palestinians since the resumption of the peace process last summer.

He reiterated that the parties aren't working on an interim agreement.

"We are working on a framework for negotiations that will guide and create the clear, detailed, accepted roadmap for the guidelines for the permanent status negotiations, and can help those negotiations move faster and more effectively. The agreed framework will address all of the core issues that we've been discussing, and I think that's the most that I would like to say about that at this point in time."

As a result of those talks, he intends to test some of his ideas with the two sides' leaders.

This is Kerry's ninth trip to the region since taking over as secretary of State nearly a year ago.

He arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday and immediately headed for Jerusalem, where he met for three hours with Netanyahu on Friday. Kerry then spent two days meeting with Palestinian leaders, including two meetings with Abbas.

"Over the past few days, I've had two lengthy rounds with each leader and with their teams, and we have had very positive, but I have to say very serious, very intensive conversations. These issues are not easy. As I've said before, if this was easy, this would have been resolved a long time ago."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT