Kerry sees progress in Mideast peace talks

Ramallah, June 30 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday said progress was made in his efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Kerry has been in the region since Thursday for discussions with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. He is on his fifth visit to the region since he began his task in March, Xinhua reported.

However, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Sunday, Kerry said there were some matters that needed to be settled first to complete the progress.

Kerry promised to reveal more details.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in 2010 over a dispute on Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Kerry’s meeting with Abbas was “positive and thorough”.

He said the Palestinians were cooperating positively with Kerry, and accused Israel of “putting obstacles on the way of peace”, referring to Israel’s plans to build 930 new settler homes in an East Jerusalem settlement.

“We do not have conditions to resume the negotiations,” Erekat said.

“When we call for the principle of the two-state solution, stopping the settlements and releasing the old prisoners, we are talking about Israeli commitments, not Palestinian conditions,” he said.

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