Report: President Obama to Meet With Israeli and Palestinian Negotiators in Washington
A White House official says that President Obama will meet Tuesday morning with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. According to the source, Obama is expected "to call on them to exhibit good will" and "remain focused and steadfast throughout the talks." The negotiators will then go from their meeting with Obama to meet with Kerry. Following that meeting there there is a press conference scheduled for this evening, during which all parties will make statements.
On Monday night, the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams began their talks over a traditional Iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast. The host of the evening, Secretary of State John Kerry, said it was a "very, very special" moment.
In a radio interview Monday morning, chief negotiator for Israel Tsipi Livni said, "The atmosphere was positive" and that "all of the issues are on the table, but we decided that what is said in the negotiating room will stay there."
Resuming peace talks for the first time in three years has required a lot of effort and strategic diplomacy: In the past four months, Kerry has made six peace-making trips to the region. On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet voted to approve the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners — a move required by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas before beginning peace talks. The priosners are to be released over four stages in the next several months, depending on progress in the peace process.