U.S. Secretary of state john kerry expects progress in the middle east peace process in the coming months. "We all know it’s not easy, but it’s possible," kerry said monday at a meeting with president shimon peres in jerusalem.
A two-state solution in the middle east is still possible, he said. "I am convinced there is a way forward," said kerry, who had earlier met with palastinian prime minister salam fajad. "I am confident that we will work together and see more of each other in the coming months." To conclude his visit, kerry has a working meeting on tuesday with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu.
Peres said, according to his office, that a "new wind of peace" was blowing in the middle east after the visit of U.S. President barack obama a good two weeks ago. The nobel peace prize winner spoke of a "feeling of optimism and the belief that peace is possible". The creation of a palastinian state existing side by side with israel is still the best solution.
Peres also commented on the nuclear dispute with tehran. "The iranian regime, with its quest for domination, is the greatest threat to peace, security and regional stability," the 89-year-old said. Kerry reiterated that "all options remain on the table" on the issue. Obama is a friend of israel. "We are aware of the threat from iran and as the president has said many times, he is not bluffing," kerry said. "He is serious and we will stand by israel against this threat, together with the rest of the world"."
On monday morning, kerry laid a wreath at the holocaust memorial yad vashem. Netanyahu, who was present together with kerry, had emphasized at the beginning of the holocaust memorial day that israel would not blindly rely on the international community to prevent the construction of an iranian nuclear bomb. "We will never put our fate in the hands of others, not even our best friends," he said on sunday evening, referring to the u.S.
Palastinian president mahmud abbas, with whom kerry met on sunday evening, continues to insist on a freeze on settlement construction and the release of palastinian detainees ahead of new talks with israel, according to media reports. The palastinian news agency maan reported that kerry had promised the palastinians the release of frozen aid payments, among other things, as an incentive for direct peace negotiations. In addition, it should be ensured that israel in the future no longer withholds taxes and duties intended for the palestinians. In addition, areas under palastinian control should be expanded.
Holocaust memorial day in israel was accompanied by a new rocket attack from the gaza strip. Israel then closed two central crossings into the gaza strip again on monday.