Saeb Erekat, the lead negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, speaking at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday in Ramallah, announced "We really are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the success" of the latest round of Mideast peace negotiations.
Kerry met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and Saturday to discuss the framework for peace between Israel and Palestine. Erekat described the intense meetings as leading to a "sleepless night" for those involved, emphasizing "Failure is not an option" for Palestine. "No one benefits more from the success of Secretary Kerry’s efforts than Palestinians, and no one stands to lose more of failure than Palestinians."
The secretary of state agreed with Erekat's description of the talks, acknowledging that "we are working with great intensity, with serious purpose, with the commitment to trying to resolve this conflict" and "As Saeb said, we’re not there yet, but we are making progress and we are beginning to flesh out the toughest hurdles yet to be overcome."
Both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were praised by Kerry for their commitment to negotiations as the two leaders "have remained absolutely steadfast to this effort and committed to the notion that two peoples living side by side in peace and security is a goal worth fighting for and that the progress being made is sufficient to encourage people to keep going. So that's exactly what we're going to do..."
Prior to his meeting with Abbas, Kerry met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 2. Kerry departed Ramallah on Saturday for another meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
[State Department] [UPI]