Palestinians, Israelis remain 'steadfast' on peace talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry sits between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres. Kerry says both sides are remaining 'steadfast' in the negotiations. (AFP/File)
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US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the peace talks between Palestine and Israel are progressing well and both sides are committed to pushing the negotiations forward.
"Despite tough decisions that have to be made and despite pressure that exists on both sides... both the Palestinians and Israelis have remained steadfast in their committment to continuing the talks," Kerry said in Paris after a meeting with Arab League officials, Agence France Presse reported.
Kerry's comments came ahead of his planned talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in London. The US official said he was planning meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "shortly" to follow up on peace efforts, according to AFP.
Regarding the talks Kerry held with Arab League officials, Kerry told reporters: "We all of us agreed that a final status agreement is important in enhancing regional security and stability throughout the Middle East," AFP reported.
Direct peace negotiations between Palestine and the Israelis were resumed on July 29 in Jerusalem after Kerry launched intensive diplomatic efforts shuttling between Jerusalem, the West Bank and Amman for three months seeking an end to the talk's stalemate.
Since then, the two sides have met three times.
In a bid to boost the success of the talks, the US imposed a media blackout on the talks, barring officials from leaking details on the negotiations, AFP reported.
Ahead of the first meeting in Jerusalem on August 14, Israel announced its plans to build more than 2,000 Jewish settler homes on Palestinian territory, a move that angered Palestinian negotiators.
It was continued Israeli settlement activity that halted the last round of direct negotiations in 2010.