Secretary of State John Kerry canceled a talk planned for today with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to The New York Times. The meeting would have extended negotiations set to expire April 29th into 2015.
It seems Kerry canceled the talks due to Abbas breaking the terms of the peace negotiations before the scheduled meeting. In the past month, Abbas began the process of joining 15 international agencies, a move strictly prohibited during negotiations. It appears Abbas was seeking statehood outside of U.S. talks.
The loss of these talks is a loss for both sides. They were expected to lead to the release of an American citizen held for twenty-five years on suspicion of spying for Israel by Palestine, as well the release of many Palestinian soldiers by Israel.
Abbas justified his actions, saying Israel had broken their promise to release soldiers as scheduled. Indeed, a fourth group of Palestinian soldiers were slated for release on March 29th but were not. He also cited the lack of progress made in significant negotiations.
Abbas stated “We don’t want to collide with the U.S. administration. We want a good relationship with Washington because it helped us and exerted huge efforts. But because we did not find ways for a solution, this becomes our right.”
Despite Abbas’ statement, it has become trying for the U.S. to stay involved in peace talks with Palestine and Israel. Kerry still stressed that this was not the end of U.S. attempts, but the fatigue was evident in Kerry’s recent remarks to NATO.
He stated “The United States is proud and ready and willing to be a facilitator in this process. But the leaders on both sides have to make the decisions, not us. It’s up to them to decide what they’re prepared to do with each other, for each other, for the future, for the region, for peace.”
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