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Kerry: Israeli, Palestinian leaders serious on talks

Reuters

June 26, 2013 | 6:34 am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait City on June 26. Photo by REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait City on June 26. Photo by REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are both committed to reviving peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, but he acknowledged that progress on the long-stalled negotiations would be difficult.

Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in late 2010 in a dispute over construction of Jewish settlements in on West Bank land that Palestinians want as part of their future state.

Kerry, who held separate talks with both sides in May, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wanted the peace process to move forward. This would be Kerry's fifth attempt to restart talks.

"I believe they believe the peace process is bigger than any one day or one moment, or certainly more important to their countries than some of their current political challenges," he told a news conference in Kuwait with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.

"That is why both of them have indicated a seriousness of purpose. I would not be here now if I didn't have the belief this is possible," he said.

Kerry said he did not want to set any deadlines for the peace process but added that there needed to be progress before the U.N. General Assembly in September.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Sylvia Westall; Editing by Gareth Jones

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