Israel-Turkey detente vital for Middle East peace, says Kerry after talks

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

Israel and Turkey’s recent rapprochement is a vital factor in developing peace and stability in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

U.S. President Barack Obama brokered the tentative reconciliation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday during his visit to Israel.

“The reconciliation between Israel and Turkey is a very important development that will help advance the cause of peace and stability in the region,” Kerry said in a statement Saturday from the Jordanian capital Amman.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Erdogan deserve great credit for showing the leadership necessary to make this possible,” he added.

“We look forward to an expeditious implementation of the agreement and the full normalization of relations so Israel and Turkey can work together to advance their common interests.”

Kerry returned to Israel to negotiate further talks between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, after the U.S. president’s visit to the Middle East to revive diplomatic efforts ended in Jordan.

A senior U.S. State Department official said that Kerry held separate “useful” talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, but no further details were given regarding the meetings. Kerry’s meeting in Jerusalem with Netanyahu that stretched past midnight.

“Secretary Kerry had useful follow up meetings with both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu. These meetings were the natural next step to the discussions the president and Secretary Kerry had this week (with Israeli and Palestinian officials),” said the senior U.S. State Department official.

“In both meetings, Secretary Kerry reiterated that peace is not only possible, but necessary for the future of the Israeli and Palestinian people,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Palestinian source said Kerry's meeting with Abbas had focused on “trying to find common ground between both sides to see if there is ground to resume peace talks”, and cautioned against expecting any quick results.

“It could take some time” to achieve a formal resumption of negotiations, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

While Obama made Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority in his first term, peace talks quickly ran aground in late 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in land Israel captured in a 1967 war. Palestinians seek this land for a state.

Top Content Trending