The Palestinian-Israeli final status negotiations were top of the agenda in a discussion between Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy and his United States counterpart John Kerry.
In a telephone conversation conducted on Monday, the two diplomats discussed the negotiations, as well as other regional issues including the Syrian conflict.
The focus on the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations came on the heels of a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama. John Kerry also attended the meeting and was expected to hold a separate meeting with the Palestinian leader, according to State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“The purpose of that is really to take stock of where the Palestinians are at this point,” Psaki told reporters in a press briefing on Monday. She spoke of the need to make “tough choices” that the US President and Secretary of State have both urged throughout the nine-month negotiations, which began in July 2013.
The negotiations have been fraught with accusations from both sides of not taking the talks seriously as well as continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. The Palestinians have said they would neither continue negotiations past the 29 April deadline nor recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
Ahead of Monday’s meetings in Washington the Egyptian foreign ministry expressed its full support for Abbas in negotiations, stressing, “the opportunity still exists to achieve a historic breakthrough.”
The talks aimed to establish a framework for a final solution to the decades old conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, however as the deadline approaches there is increased scepticism as to whether or not this goal can be achieved.
Obama stressed to Abbas that “risks” must be taken to give peace a chance, but there is a lack of trust between the two sides. Ahead of the meeting Abbas said that the release of a fourth wave of Palestinian prisoners “will give a very solid impression about the seriousness of these efforts to achieve peace.”