John Kerry Names New Middle East Envoy to Oversee Peace Talks

President Obama has praised the Secretary of State’s Middle East peace efforts.

Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as he announces that Indyk will shepherd the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks beginning in Washington on Monday, July 29, 2013.
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Secretary of State John Kerry tapped former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk to oversee the renewed diplomatic talks between Israelis and Palestinians Monday.

The two sides are scheduled to meet with Kerry for a working dinner Monday evening as part of an effort to move forward on the decades-old conflict. Indyk served in a variety of State Department posts during the Clinton administration and Kerry hopes his experience can help build the relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

[READ: John Kerry's Legacy May Rest on Middle East Talks]

"I think reasonable compromises have to be a keystone of all of this effort," Kerry said Monday, while announing Indyk's appointment. "I know the negotiations are going to be tough, but I also know that the consequences of not trying could be worse."

Kerry has already visited the Middle East six times since taking over the top U.S. diplomatic post from Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

President Barack Obama weighed in on the rekindled talks Monday, calling them a "promising step forward."

 

"The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination," he said in a release. "The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security."

[READ: Peace in Syria Unlikely Despite New U.S. Vigor, Israeli Official Says]

Indyk replaces David Hale, who was acting as the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations since former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, resigned from the job in 2011 after a failed effort.

"Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations," Obama said.

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