US Secretary Kerry wants a "pause" in Palestine-Israel peace talks
John Kerry drew criticism earlier in the week when he referred to Israel as an apartheid state (File/AFP)
US Secretary of State John Kerry says it is time for Washington to take a pause in the American-brokered talks between the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Kerry said on Thursday that Washington was blindsided by a reconciliation agreement between the PA and the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, leading to the suspension of the negotiations.
"We believe the best thing to do right now is pause, take a hard look at these things, and find out what is possible and what is not possible in the days ahead," said the top US diplomat.
With talks on hold, a deadline this week for an agreement to keep the process going became "completely irrelevant," Kerry told reporters at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
It marked his first remarks on the Israeli-PA talks since the April 29 deadline came and went.
Kerry added that a deal announced last week for Palestinian authorities to create a unity government with the resistance group Hamas — and which prompted the Israeli regime to withdraw from the negotiations — took Washington by surprise.
The new US stance comes after a nine-month deadline for the talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel expired on Tuesday. It prompted Tel Aviv to impose economic sanctions on the PA.
The talks reached a deadlock in late March when Tel Aviv refused to release a group of Palestinian prisoners.
Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas, in retaliation, applied for the Palestinian membership in 15 UN conventions.
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