Statement Following Meeting With President Mahmoud Abbas

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Muqata'a Presidential Compound
December 5, 2013

Good evening, everybody. Let me begin by thanking President Abbas for his steadfast commitment to stay at these negotiations despite difficulties that he and the Palestinians have perceived in the process. I am very grateful to him for the seriousness of the effort, and he has committed to stay at this and to remain in these talks through their duration with the hopes that we would be able to find an agreement.

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 in discussing some of the ideas that are on the table. We are not going to discuss these further publicly, but I will say that the goal here for everybody is a viable Palestinian state with the Palestinian people living side by side in peace with the state of Israel and with the people of Israel.

I think 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 and also of longer-term issues of how we end this conflict once and for all.

So we will continue. I’m returning now to Jerusalem to have further conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and then shortly, perhaps in a week or so, may return for further discussions depending on where we are. And some of us will have a chance to meet over the weekend in Washington in conjunction with the Saban Forum. So the discussions will go on, the effort will continue, and our hopes with them for the possibilities of peace for the region.

Thank you.

PRN: 2013/T19-10