Secretary of State John Kerry said today in Ramallah that he’s “very grateful” to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his “tireless” leadership in the conflict between his unity government partner Hamas and Israel.
Following his meeting with Abbas, Kerry noted to reporters that he’s “been in constant touch with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority over the course of the last months.”
“But particularly in the last days, we have been talking about how to achieve an end to the current violence and an effort to try to not only have a cease-fire, but build a process that can create a sustainable way forward for everybody,” he said. “I’m very grateful to President Abbas for his leadership, for his deep engagement in the effort to try to find a cease-fire. He has traveled tirelessly, he has been working with all of the interested groups and parties, and encouraging people to do the responsible thing, which is to come to the table – not only have a cease-fire, but then negotiate the immediate issues and the underlying issues.”
Abbas was criticized for a trip to Turkey last week on which he was photographed posing with TV stars.
“We had a good conversation today about how we can take further steps, and we’re doing this for one simple reason: The people in the Palestinian territories, the people in Israel, are all living under the threat or reality of immediate violence, and this needs to end for everybody,” Kerry continued. “We need to find a way forward that works, and it’s not violence.”
“President Abbas has been committed to nonviolence and committed to a harder route,” he said of the leader who has vowed “no way” will he recognize the Jewish state. “Sometimes it’s very satisfying for people to see the immediate impact of the violence, but it doesn’t take you to a solution. President Abbas understands the road to the solution, and that’s what we’re working for.”
Kerry said the U.S. will continue to push for a cease-fire, and “will continue to work with President Abbas and others in the region in order to achieve it.”
“And I can tell you that we have, in the last 24 hours, made some progress in moving towards that goal,” he said. “And I will leave here now with President Abbas’ thoughts about how we could make some progress, and I will go and meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and subsequently return to Cairo, where we will continue in the hopes that before long, we can change course and, for everybody’s sake, end this violence and move to a sustainable program for the future.”