US Secretary of State John Kerry believes that, since his visit to the region, there is a basis for bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together for renewed negotiations in the very near future. As chair of the international donor group for the Palestinians (AHLC), Mr Eide has urged both parties to resume direct talks and has been in contact with Mr Kerry throughout the process. Norway has emphasised that this may be the last chance for the parties to realise a two-state solution.
“I congratulate Secretary of State John Kerry, and commend the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for taking this important step. They face major challenges in the negotiations. It will be important to build on the legal and political basis established by the international community for the mandate and framework for a future solution. It is in the interests of both parties to move forward, and they will receive a great deal of support from the international community. We must be realistic, and we must be patient. As a friend of both peoples, and chair of the AHLC, Norway is prepared to contribute to this process,” said Mr Eide.
Little is known about the exact content of the talks Mr Kerry has had or what the parties have agreed. But there are major difficult issues that have to be resolved, and the two parties have conflicting views in many of them. Among the most difficult issues are the borders between the two states, the role of Jerusalem as capital for both states, the situation of the refugees, and arrangements to ensure safe access to the holy sites of all three religions.