By LARA JAKES, AP National Security Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — America's top diplomat says talks in the Mideast peace process faltered after Israel last month refused to release prisoners as Palestinian leaders demanded, and then moved forward with new construction in a settlement.
Secretary of State John Kerry made clear that both sides have taken what he termed unhelpful steps as an April 29 deadline approaches for deciding whether to continue negotiations or shelve the talks for now.
But in Senate testimony Tuesday, Kerry said Israel struggled with releasing prisoners, then announced new settlements "and poof, that was sort of the moment," he said. "We find ourselves where we are."
Moments earlier, he also acknowledged Palestinian moves toward winning statehood that also violated terms of the negotiations.
Kerry said both sides claim they want the talks to continue.
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