US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted, on Sunday, that concrete progress has been made in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but that the details are to be kept under wraps, the Ma’an News Agency has reported.Kerry has made nine trips to the Middle East, since March, helping launch nine-month direct talks between the two sides, in July. He says that talking about any agreements could be counterproductive.
‘I’m personally encouraged that very tough issues are beginning to take shape,’ he said in an interview with ABC’s ‘This Week.’
‘But we’ve agreed not to be talking about what we’re doing because it just creates great expectations. It creates pressure. It creates opposition, in some cases.
‘I think it’s much better for us to do exactly what we’ve been doing, which is negotiate quietly and privately,’ he continued.
Israeli and Arab media reports say that the plan envisaged by Washington would see Israel maintain a military presence on the border after a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
An international force would be acceptable to the Palestinians, but Israel opposes such a solution.
Israel has always insisted that a continued border presence would be vital to its security for some 10-15 years after Palestinian statehood.
Kerry said, before his latest trip to the region, ‘we are closer than we have been in years’ to reaching a deal. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had said that the United States was ‘focused on a final deal’ rather than an interim agreement.
Kerry expressed optimism, Sunday, that this was ‘a different moment’ for the conflict which could allow ‘a different set of choices’ than in past failed efforts.