Mideast peace talks

CNC reporting from Washington
Added On July 31, 2013

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have set an ambitious goal to reach an elusive peace deal within nine months in U.S.-brokered peace talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says negotiators for the Israelis and Palestinians will meet again for formal negotiations in the region within two weeks.

An ambitious goal has been set for the Mideast region.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators concluded their peace talks in Washington on Tuesday.

The negotiations were suspended in 2010 due to Israel's expansion of settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.

The resumption of peace talks is widely seen as an achievement for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The nod comes after he made six trips to the region in the past four months.

Kerry on Tuesday said all issues will be on the table in the peace talks as the sides try to reach a final status agreement within nine months.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) JOHN KERRY,  US Secretary of State:  0:01:23
"The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues. And they will meet within the next two weeks, in either Israel or the Palestinian territories, in order to begin the process of formal negotiation. The parties have agreed here today that all of the final status issues, all of the core issues, and all other issues are all on the table for negotiation."

All the final status issues include Jerusalem, security, the Jewish settlements, borders and refugees.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni expressed optimism, while acknowledging a tough road lay ahead.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SAEB EREKAT, Chief Palestinian negotiator   0:03:48
"I'm delighted that all final status issues are on the table and will be resolved, without any exceptions, and it's time....for the Palestinian people to have an independent sovereign state of their own. It's time for the Palestinians to live in peace freedom with dignity within their own sovereign state."

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) TZIPI LIVNI, Israeli Justice Minister 0:04:51
"We all know that its not going to be easy.  Its going to be hard, with ups and downs. But I can assure you that these negotiations, in these negotiations, its not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future."

The initial talks in Washington aimed at setting agenda and procedures for the formal final status negotiations.

Kerry described the meetings as " constructive" and "positive."

The two sides met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House earlier Tuesday. A White House official said the president had wanted to hear personally from the sides and express U.S. support for the peace process.

The so-called quartet, including the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia, welcomed the resumed peace talks.