U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Thursday evening for a quick visit focused on preparations of a "framework agreement" comprising the principles for a solution to the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Top American officials told the Associated Press that Kerry hopes to reach this "framework agreement" immediately and subsequently set a time-frame of six months to a year for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the finer details of a permanent peace treaty.
Kerry headed to Ramallah upon landing for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The talks were meant as a follow-up on the American proposal for security arrangements in the West Bank in the future peace deal.
Kerry presented the proposal to Abbas during his previous visit to the region, and was met with a frosty response. The Palestinians object to the central principle of the plan, which stipulates continued Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank for 10-15 years after a peace deal is signed.
U.S. General John Allen, who formed the proposal for a security arrangement, sat in on the meeting on Thursday. He was not present at Kerry's first round of talks with Abbas on the matter, but joined in for this one in a bid to allay the Palestinian concerns.
Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday. Their talks will also deal the security arrangement proposal, but moreover will focus on beginning a draft for the "framework agreement."
Top American officials said the United States is not interested in dictating the content of the deal to the two sides, but aims rather to help them to consolidate the draft.
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