U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a second day of talks in Paris on Thursday, as the secretary continues to press for agreement on a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
"We are at an important point in the negotiations where we are engaged with narrowing the gaps between the parties on a framework for negotiations," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after the first round of talks on Wednesday.
Earlier on Thursday, Abbas' spokesman said that the Palestinians "will not accept any agreement, whether a framework or a final deal, unless it includes the firm Palestinian and Arab positions that are based on international resolutions."
In a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Nabil Abu Rudeineh repeated demands that east Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state whose borders are based in the 1967 lines, that Israeli settlements are illegal, that Palestinian prisoners must be released and that there must be a "just solution" to the issue of Palestinian refugees.
Abu Rudeineh also restated Palestinian opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, a key Israeli demand.
On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Obama administration was concerned by recent derogatory comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and that Kerry would be raising the matter with Abbas.
"We've said all along that it's important to create a positive atmosphere around these discussions, that personal attacks, quite frankly, are unhelpful," she told reporters. "The secretary will make clear that these kinds of comments are disappointing, that they are unhelpful, especially coming from someone involved in the negotiations, indeed the lead negotiator."
Meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Paris on Wednesday, Kerry acknowledged Amman's special role in the region, saying "we are listening very carefully to our friends in Jordan regarding the Middle East peace process."
Judeh replied that "Jordan is a stakeholder, not just a mediator or observer."
"All final status issues touch the very heart of Jordanian interests and national security. And therefore we are as interested as anyone out there in having this resolved in a fruitful outcome," he added.
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