Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at Abbas' residence in Amman, Jordan February 21, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United States remains committed to the two-state solution, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the two men met in New York on Monday.
“The Secretary and President Abbas discussed regional challenges and constructive ideas for the way forward to support our shared goal of a two state solution,” the office the US State Department spokesperson said.
It added that “Secretary Kerry stressed the United States’ commitment to this issue and his concern over trends on the ground, including the recent surge in violence and settlement activity.
“They agreed on the importance of continuing to work with key partners to advance the prospects for peace while opposing all efforts that would undermine that goal,” the spokesperson said.
Kerry and Abbas had met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and in advance of Wednesday’s meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to a report from Wafa, an official Palestinian news agency, Abbas and Kerry discussed “the political process and international efforts, in addition to the situation and developments in the Middle East.”
Several Palestinian officials joined in the meeting, including PLO Executive Committee Secretary General Saeb Erakat, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour, among others.
“The meeting was a part of ongoing consultations between President Abbas and Secretary Kerry,” said Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas’s diplomatic spokesman.
In a brief exchange with press before their meeting, Kerry only took one question – not on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on Syria, where a young and fragile cease-fire appears to be falling apart.
“We have not had seven days of calm,” Kerry said. “I think it’s, as I said yesterday, time to end the grandstanding and time to do the real work of delivering on the humanitarian goods that are necessary for access.”
While in New York, Abbas also plans on meeting the UN’s secretary general, the president of Lebanon, the prime minister of Luxembourg and the commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency, among other leaders. He addressed the assembly hall on Thursday.