Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Kerry holds 'constructive' talks with Abbas

27 March 2014, 11:20

Amman - US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas held "constructive" talks on the Middle East peace process, a US official said on Thursday, as crunch decisions loom in the coming days.

After earlier talks with King Abdullah II in Amman, Kerry and his team met for more than four hours over dinner in the Jordanian capital with the Palestinian leader, a senior State Department official said.

Describing it as "a constructive conversation," the official added that "the secretary plans to remain engaged with both President Abbas and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu over the coming days".

Israel is due to release a fourth and final tranche of prisoners over the weekend, a move which will prove key in deciding whether the talks, resumed in July after a three-year gap, unravel or not.

Under the deal relaunching the peace negotiations, Israel said it would release 104 Arabs held since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords in exchange for the Palestinians not pressing their statehood claims via the UN.

Israel has so far freed 78 prisoners but there are growing Netanyahu's cabinet may block the final releases, particularly of Israeli Arab militants.

In Jerusalem, about 50 relatives of the victims of attacks demonstrated on Wednesday near Netanyahu's residence against widening the prisoner releases.

"Justice and values come before politics. We can't reach peace by ignoring the blood of the victims," said Meir Indor, a spokesperson for the families.

Palestinian minister of prisoners affairs Issa Qaraqe told Voice of Palestine radio that "Israel is trying to worm its way out of releasing the prisoners. They will be held responsible for any repercussions of this".

He insisted Israel free all the prisoners.

League rejects 'Jewish state'

The Palestinians also won key backing on Wednesday from the Arab League for their refusal to bow to Netanyahu's demand to recognise Israel as "the nation state of the Jewish people".

"We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state," an Arab League declaration said at the end of a two-day summit in Kuwait.

But the Israeli side hit back that Abbas's stand on the issue "could torpedo the peace process".

The Palestinian leader had "boasted that he refuses to even discuss recognising the Jewish state, once again parading rejectionism as virtue", a senior Israeli official said.

Kerry, who coaxed the two sides back to the negotiations last July after a three-year freeze, is aiming to reach a framework to guide the talks going forward as a 29 April deadline for a deal looms.

But Abbas told him he would not discuss the framework accord until after the prisoner releases have taken place, a Palestinian source said.

Israel also wants the Palestinians to agree to extend the talks beyond 29 April, warning a failure to do so would scupper the final prisoner release.

"We don't need a new series of accords so that Israel can bury them under an avalanche of conditions, reservations or interpretations before going back on their commitments," Abbas told the Arab League.

The prisoner issue is not the only issue jeopardising the peace talks.

Israeli army radio said on Wednesday the US had offered to release Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in 1985 and condemned to life imprisonment for spying on the United States for Israel, in return for Palestinian prisoners being freed.

But State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki shot down the report, saying: "There are currently no plans to release Jonathan Pollard".

Kerry was flying back to Rome early on Thursday to join up again with Obama for a meeting with Pope Francis.

The two Americans will then visit Saudi Arabia on Friday, when the peace process is likely to be one of the issues topping the agenda in talks with Saudi King Abdullah.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...