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Peace is Closer than it has Been 'In Years', Says Kerry

The U.S. Secretary of State has claimed the Israelis and Palestinians are closest they've been to peace "in years"

By: Daniel Koren
Published: December 6th, 2013 in News » World
Kerry gives a statement at Ben-Gurion InternationalPic: AP

Finishing off a seemingly successful trip to Israel, during which he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three times, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was optimistic as he was met by reporters Friday at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv.

"I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve," he told them.

Such a statement, naturally, cannot be taken lightly.

Kerry also referenced a quote from the late Nelson Mandela according to the AFP, stating, in the face of challenges, "it always seems impossible until it is done".

"That example of Nelson Mandela is an example we all need to take to heart as we try to reach a two-state solution," he added.

Kerry reportedly spent his meetings with Netanyahu discussing potential peace agreements and any possible security or safety issues that could arise from said agreements.

Security, according to Kerry, is "fundamental" to any form of peace negotiations that can occur between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It is also, he noted, of particular focus to Washington in its nuclear negotiations with Iran.

While in Israel, Kerry also met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during a three-hour meeting in Ramallah. According to a senior official, however, his proposals were not greeted with enthusiasm, and deemed 'unacceptable'.

Despite that, Kerry remains hopeful. "Today, we discussed at great length issues of security in the region, security for the state of Israel, security for a future Palestine. And we, I think, made some progress," he said.

"The interests are very similar, but there are questions of sovereignty, questions of respect and dignity which are obviously significant to the Palestinians, and for the Israelis -- very serious questions of security," he added.

Related articles: John Kerry, Middle East, Israel News, Palestinians, Secretary of State, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ben-Gurion Airport
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