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Obama discusses peace talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders

August 02, 2013, 3:40 UTC+3

They agreed that “the difficult road ahead is worth travelling and that the daunting challenges that we face are worth tackling"

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WASHINGTON, August 2 (Itar-Tass) - Kerry noted that “candid, private conversations are the very best way to preserve the time and the space for progress and understanding when you face difficult, complicated issues such as Middle East peace.”

At the same time, he admitted that “no one believes that the longstanding differences between the parties can be resolved overnight or just wiped away.”

Kerry pointed out that “the challenges require some very tough choices in the days ahead” and “the road ahead will be difficult and the challenges that the parties face are daunting” but said he was “hopeful because of the courageous leadership shown by President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both of them have chosen to make difficult choices here, and both of them were instrumental in pushing in this direction.”

They agreed that “the difficult road ahead is worth travelling and that the daunting challenges that we face are worth tackling. So they have courageously recognised that in order for Israelis and Palestinians to live together side by side in peace and security, they must begin by sitting at the table together in direct talks.”

He welcomed “the positive steps that Israelis themselves and Palestinians are taking on the ground and the promise that those steps represent about the possibilities of the future.”

“The path to resolution of this longstanding conflict in this critical corner of the world, that path is not about fate. It’s about choices, choices that people can make. And this is not up to chance. It’s up to the Israeli people and the Palestinian people and no one else,” the secretary of state said.

Direct talks between Israel and Palestine stopped in September 2010 after the former had refused to suspend the construction of new settlements in the West Bank.

On July 23, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin called for supporting the attempt to resume the discussion by holding a ministerial meeting of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators at the earliest opportunity. The meeting may take place in early August during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s upcoming visit to the United States.

In a statement on July 30, the Quartet welcomed the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians on July 29 and commended both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu for “taking this courageous decision in the interest of their peoples, and is determined to lend its effective support to the efforts of the parties and their shared commitment to achieve a negotiated two-state solution within the agreed timeframe of nine months.”

The Quartet called on all parties to take every possible step to promote conditions conducive to the success of the negotiating process and to refrain from actions that undermine trust.

The Quartet expressed its appreciation for the efforts of President Obama and Secretary Kerry in helping the parties reach agreement to resume negotiations. The Quartet commends the Arab League for its constructive role in support of renewed negotiations, including its reaffirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative, recognises many others in the international community for their important contributions, and expresses hope that such efforts will continue.

While noting that much hard work lies ahead, the Quartet expressed its “hope that renewed negotiations will be substantive and continuous and set a clear path towards a two-state solution, the end of conflict, and lasting peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

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