Quartet: “Settlements continue to be an obstacle to peace”
Kerry and Netanyahu met in New York: “There are things we can achieve in the coming months”U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Israeli Prime Minister on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss the deadlock in peace talks with the Palestinians towards the end of Obama’s term: “There are things we believe we could achieve in the next months.”
After giving his speech at the UN General Assembly and meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday evening (Friday) with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In their meeting, the two discussed political issues on the agenda and Kerry addressed the short time left for Obama’s term and stated that the sides could still reach achievements in the coming months.
In a joint statement issued by the two, Netanyahu said that the direct talks with Kerry during his tenure were very fruitful. “It’s always important and productive to talk directly about how we can advance peace and stability with our neighbors in the region,” he stated.
Kerry went on to address the peace process in light of the recent exchange of words between Netanyahu and Obama regarding the Israeli settlements’ impact on peace with the Palestinians. “There are serious concerns that we all have about the security of the region, the need for stability and the need to protect the two-state solution,” he stated. “Our hope is obviously that we can find a way to utilize the friendship of our countries to advance what we believe is not only in the highest priority for Israel to provide for its long-term security, but also to create a new relationship within the region that can be powerful in reinforcing that long-term security interest.”
Despite the high spirits in the meeting between the two, Netanyahu suffered a heavy blow in the international scene yesterday, as the Quartet on the Middle East reiterated its opposition to settlement construction in response to the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech at the UN General Assembly, in which he claimed that the responsibility for the deadlock in peace talks rested on the shoulders of the Palestinians.
Quartet representatives from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union issued a statement in which they expressed their strong opposition to settlement construction beyond the Green Line. “The Quartet emphasizes its strong opposition to ongoing settlement activity, which is an obstacle to peace, and expresses its grave concern that the acceleration of settlement construction and expansion is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution,” the statement read.
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