Following a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry brushed back those skeptical that the newly re-booted talks would be in vain.
"I think everyone involved here believes that we cannot pass on to another generation the responsibility of ending a conflict that's in our power to resolve in our time," he said during a brief news conference. "So while I understand the skepticism, I don't share it and I don't think we have time for it."
Kerry said the two sides, under the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, are sincere about building a two-state solution and ending the decades long conflict.
"Their commitment to make tough choices, frankly, should give all of us hope that these negotiations actually have a chance to accomplish something," Kerry said. "I'm pleased to report that in the conversations we've had last night and again today we've had constructive and positive meetings."
Kerry said representatives for both sides of the talks had agreed to "sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations" that will resume in two weeks either in Israel or in the Palestinian territories. The talks will address all the core issues with the goal of reaching a resolution within nine months. The process will be facilitated by the United States and Kerry himself will be the only source authorized to give updates on the talks, he said.
"That means no one should consider any reports, articles or [any other] rumors reliable unless they come directly from me – and I can guarantee you they won't," he said. "We all understand the goal that we are working toward - two states living side by side in peace and security, two states because two proud peoples each deserve a country to call their own."
Kerry also credited Obama with leading the effort to push the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table, saying he "set this process in motion with his historic visit to the region this spring."
"The president's support for our efforts including his personal engagement with the parties this morning has been essential and I thank him for that," Kerry said.
The Middle East peace talks have been nonexistent since getting off track midway through Obama's first term.