US Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Amman Friday night, “If everything goes as expected initial Israel-Palestinian talks will resume in Washington next week or very soon.” The talks will be behind close doors, he said. DEBKAfile: Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the prime minister’s adviser Yakov Molcho will represent Israel and senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian side.
The US Secretary’s statement came after an arduous day, during which he paid an unscheduled side trip to Ramallah for a last attempt to cajole Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas into dropping his objections to resuming peace talks with Israel. All he could say after leaving Ramallah was: "We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The agreement is still in the process of being formalized."
Kerry sounded tired and strained when he spoke in the Joranian capital because, in the last reckoning, he leaves without fulfilling his mission in full, which was to procure an agreement for Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abbas to resume peace talks after three years of stalemate.
The forthcoming meeting of teams in Washington is no real breakthrough: Quiet talks have been taking place for months at the lower level of Livni and Molcho with Erekat.