WASHINGTON: Israelis and Palestinians have resumed direct talks in Washington DC for the first time in three years.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the two negotiating teams to a flower-bedecked table in the elegant Thomas Jefferson room at the State Department.
It was a “very, very special” moment, Kerry said as Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat sat side-by-side opposite top US diplomat to share a traditional Muslim iftar meal.
US President Barack Obama has welcomed the start of the talks, calling the, a “promising step” forward but warning of “hard choices” ahead. “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,” he said.
Obama promised the US is ready to support both sides “with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security.”