Obama meets Kerry on fate of peace talks

Photo: Obama meets Kerry on fate of peace talks / Israel-Arab Relations

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday to discuss the fate of U.S. brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians after negotiations plunged into crisis last week, Al Arabiya reported.

Israel and the Palestinians are blaming each other for the impasse in talks, which observers from all sides say are close to failure.

Kerry, who has returned to Washington last week after a Mideast tour, said he needs to discuss with Obama whether to continue investing efforts in the faltering peace talks, Agence France-Presse reported.

The top U.S. diplomat will meet Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon after debriefing Congress.

The U.S. State Department said Monday that efforts were still going on in the Middle East to save the talks.

"The issue now is whether the parties can demonstrate that they are willing to make the difficult decisions necessary to move the process forward," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, as quoted by AFP.

"The parties understand what the choices are and they understand that these are not decisions that the United States or any other country can make.

"The parties themselves have to make them."

Palestinians say that Israel reneged on a pledge to free a fourth and final batch of prisoners a week ago under a previous agreement.

Israel blames the Palestinians for impeding the process with a move to request entry to 15 United Nations treaties in a bid for de facto recognition of their promised state.

Israel wants to extend the talks beyond the April 29 deadline but the Palestinians will only do so if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frees the prisoners and promises to stop settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

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