TIME Middle East

Kerry: It’s ‘Reality-Check Time’ For Peace Process

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference with Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar following a bilateral strategic dialogue at the Foreign Ministry in Rabat, April 4, 2014.
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference with Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar following a bilateral strategic dialogue at the Foreign Ministry in Rabat, April 4, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin—Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry warns the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is "not open-ended" after moves from both sides jolted the negotiations

Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday the U.S. is questioning its role in the Israeli-Palestine peace talks, saying it was “reality-check time” for negotiators after negative maneuvers from both parties threatened the peace process.

The Israeli government canceled the planned release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners on Thursday after the Palestinian leadership declared its aim of getting further recognition from the U.N. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of breaking its promise for refusing to release the prisoners, while Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni claimed on Thursday that the Palestinians had violated its terms.

The bickering prompted Kerry to all but threaten withdrawal from the process to establish peace between the two sides. Kerry said that the U.S.’s role in the peace process is not “open-ended,” the AP reports, and that the U.S. will “evaluate very carefully exactly where this is and where it might possibly be able to go.”

The U.S. had reportedly been trying to get the Palestinians to extend the peace talks beyond the initial deadline of the end of April, in exchange for the release by Israel of more jailed Palestinians. The previous three instances of Palestinian prisoners being set free were deeply unpopular in Israel, as many of them were convicted for killing Israelis.

Kerry is heading back to Washington on Friday, after spending days in Europe and the Middle East working to bolster peace in the region.

Additional reporting by Maddy Fry

[AP]

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