Kerry Seeking Progress in Peace Talks By September

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -
Secretary of State John Kerry is greeted by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, before their meeting at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
Secretary of State John Kerry is greeted by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, before their meeting at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he’s set no ad hoc deadline for making concrete progress in talks between Israel and the Palestinians that he’s continuing this week, but that long before September there needs to be some kind of progress shown.

Kerry spoke during a news conference with Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Later Wednesday, he was heading to Amman, Jordan, which he will use as a base for diplomacy with Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian officials. It is Kerry’s fifth visit to the region since becoming secretary of state earlier this year.

“The time is getting near where we need to make some judgments. Last time I was here, I said it’s time for leaders to make some hard decisions,” Kerry said. “That stands. It is time. Why is it urgent? It’s urgent because time is the enemy of a peace process.”

“I don’t want to trap myself or any of the principals in this with arbitrary — or somewhat ad hoc time limits,” Kerry said.

But then he added what sounded like a time limit: “Long before September we need to be showing some kind of progress in some way. … That’s why I’m here for this visit and I hope it can be productive.”

“We come at this carefully. We have been working towards, hopefully an understanding that allows everybody to move forward, notwithstanding the difficulties that people face in the politics of their own countries,” he said. “Why am I confident that something can be done? Because I believe peace is understood by them — both of them — to be urgent.”