Mideast Peace Talks Day Two: Obama Gets Personally Involved In Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

on July 30 2013 10:50 AM
Palestinian negotiators in DC
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (C) arrives for talks with Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, July 30, 2013. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held their first peace talks in nearly three years on Monday in a U.S.-brokered effort that Kerry hopes will end their conflict despite deep divisions. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The second day of negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian representatives began at 8 a.m. in Washington, D.C., this time with an added guest star: U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to hold a personal joint meeting with both parties at the White House, to call on them to “exhibit good will” and “remain focused,” Haaretz reports.

Except for his official visit to Israel and the West Bank in February, Obama has remained detached from the peace talks, while Secretary of State John Kerry has visited Israel six separate times between February, when he assumed office, and July, in an effort to restart the stalled process.

After meeting with the president, both parties will return to the State Department to meet with Kerry and are expected to hold a press conference at 6 p.m. local time, Haaretz said. On Monday, both parties met with each other and separately with Kerry for several hours of talks. A State Department spokeswoman said the talks were “good and constructive.” Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, one of Israel’s representatives at the talks, told Israel’s Army Radio on Monday that the “atmosphere was positive,” but declined to elaborate on what was said.

This is the first time the two sides of one of the most persistent world conflicts have sat down for face-to-face negotiations since 2010.

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