U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he had agreed to work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to boost economic growth in the occupied West Bank as he seeks ways to revive Middle East peace talks.
Speaking after a three-day visit to the region, during which he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry told reporters he would provide full details of the economic plans next week.
“We agreed among us … that we are going to engage in new efforts, very specific efforts, to promote economic development … and to remove some of the bottlenecks and barriers that exist with respect to commerce in the West Bank,” he said.
“We intend to try to create the conditions for peace so that we can resume negotiations between the parties in a clear and precise, predetermined manner,” he said at Tel Aviv airport.
Kerry, who flew on to London for a meeting of G8 foreign ministers, was on his third visit to the region in less than three weeks, a mediation effort spurred by U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel and the West Bank last month.
But neither man has put forward any new initiative to encourage a return to negotiations that collapsed in 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, which Palestinians fear will deny them a viable state.