Kerry leaves region after 5-day visit empty handed

US Secretary of State departs with no 'framework' agreement in place, expected to return next week.

John Kerry and Isaac Herzog (photo credit: Avi Hayun)
John Kerry and Isaac Herzog
(photo credit: Avi Hayun)
US Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel on Monday following a five-day visit to the region.
The conclusion of his visit comes without the closing of an official framework agreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
During his visit, Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the progress of peace talks and to try to lay foundations for a 'framework' deal that would address all the core issues – borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, mutual recognition and an end to all claims.

Kerry said his role was not to impose US ideas, but rather to facilitate the parties in their own efforts at trying to bridge the gaps on those issues.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog met with John Kerry on Monday morning before the secretary of state's departure to discuss details of the negotiation process.
After the meeting Herzog said, "We've reached a historical moment in decision-making. I feel that we have no alternative other than separation from the Palestinians and the establishment of two states."
During the meeting, Herzog clarified to Kerry that the Labor party supports the peace initiative and the advancement of the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Herzog stressed the difficulty to estimate how much longer it would take for a final deal to be put on the table, and said that the ball is currently in Netanyahu and Abbas's court.
"Both of the leaders will need to decide if they are able to lead a courageous and historic deal."