U.S. may end role in peace talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says there is a limit of time and energy Washington can spend to save the talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over the terms of a Palestinian state, indicating that the White House may end its mediatory role.
Speaking to reporters in the Moroccan capital Rabat before traveling to Casablanca for a meeting with the king of Morocco, Kerry said on Friday that "there are limits to the amount of time and effort that the US can spend if the parties themselves are unable to take constructive steps."
"This is not an open-ended effort, it never has been. It is reality check time, and we intend to evaluate precisely what the next steps will be," Kerry said, adding that he would return to Washington later in the day to discuss the issue with President Barack Obama.
"They say they want to continue, neither party has said they have called it off, but we are not going to sit there indefinitely," the top US diplomat said.
"It's time for the Israeli leaders and the leaders of the Palestinian people to spend some time considering their options at this point," he added.
Kerry has been leading Washington’s efforts to resume the stalled negotiations between the two sides, with the final aim of brokering a deal. However, the talks have remained deadlocked since they were resumed last summer under the intense US pressure.
A few days ago, the Palestinian Authority said it would seek greater international recognition for Palestine by signing up to 15 United Nations treaties and conventions. The announcement came after Israel refused to release a promised fourth group of Palestinian prisoners. The release had been agreed as part of efforts to recommence the talks.
The Palestinian side also opposes Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, where Israelis continue to expand settlements. The Palestinians have warned that negotiations will fail unless Tel Aviv stops expanding settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.