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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Thursday in Israel to broker Mideast peace talks that are entering a difficult ...
phase aimed at reaching a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. (Jan. 2)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,israeli-palestinian conflict,middle east peace talks,Ariel Sharon,benjamin netanyahu,john kerry,mahmoud abbas,palestinian president,u.s. secretary of state
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SHOTLIST:AGENCY POOL - AP CLIENTS ONLY Jerusalem - 2 January 20141. Soundbite: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I will never compromise on the security of Israel and its citizens and the vital interests that protect our future. I think you know, John, more than most how important it is to ensure the security of Israel and I hope that despite the shifting sands in the Middle East together we can build a rock solid foundation for security and for a secure peace. That's the job we're going to do in the coming days and weeks. Welcome. "2. Soundbite: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: Well, Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister, my friend, Bibi and let me begin by saying to all the people of Israel that our thoughts, my thoughts are with the Sharon family as they sit in vigil with the former Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon. We remember his contributions, sacrifices he made to ensure the survival and well being of Israel and I have many personal thoughts about my meetings with him on many different occasions, always robust and strong and clear about his positions and so we all join, all Americans, are thinking of Israel and their leader, former leader, and of the vigil that is taking place now, very personal level, with his family." ++NOTE SOUNDBITES SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASH++3. Soundbite: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: I think it's safe to say that we know what the issues are. We know the parameters, the possibilities of peace and as I said, not so many months ago at Ben Gurion airport as I left, the time is soon arriving where leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions. We are close to that time, if not at it and I think we understand the circumstances within which we are working. I know, I come here with no illusions. I know that there are many who are skeptical of whether or not the two parties can achieve peace but I will tell you that I have personally learned something about the power of reconciliation." STORYLINE: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Thursday in Israel to broker Mideast peace talks that are entering a difficult phase aimed at reaching a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.Kerry had talks scheduled Thursday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Friday, he'll be in the West Bank to talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Kerry is asking both leaders to make tough, highly charged political decisions that would yield the contours of an eventual peace treaty, creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel."We know the parameters, the possibilities of peace," Kerry said at a news conference with Netanyahu. "The time is soon arriving where leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions."Netanyahu is likely to be asked to accept - with some modifications - the borderlines that existed in 1967 before Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Abbas fears being asked to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and give up the so-called "right of return" for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the war over Israel's creation in 1948.Negotiators from both sides have had some 20 rounds of talks since summer and this is Kerry's 10th trip to the region to help craft a final peace accord. Just four months remain until a U.S.-set target date for a final agreement.Kerry also offered his thoughts and prayers to former Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Doctors on Thursday said the 85-year-old, who's been in a coma since 2006, was in critical condition, clinging to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs.