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Kerry calls for new Middle East peace talks

13 october 2014, 10:52

 US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday called for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying both sides had to be helped to make "tough choices" for lasting stability, AFP reports.

"Ceasefire is not peace," Kerry told a donors' conference aimed at raising some $4 billion to help the war-torn Gaza Strip rebuild after a 50-day war with Israel in the summer.

"We got to get back to the table and help people make tough choices, real choices ... choices about more than just a ceasefire," Kerry said.

He was speaking almost six months after his own bid to strike an elusive peace deal collapsed in April amid bitter recriminations by both sides.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have rejected new talks under old conditions, but Kerry insisted Washington was still ready to have another go.

"I say clearly and with deep conviction here today that the United States remains fully, totally committed to returning to negotiations not for the sake of it but because the goal of this conference and the future of the region demand it."

Washington is committed to a so-called "two-state solution" under which Israel and a future Palestinian state would live side-by-side.

"I don't think there is any person here who wants to come yet again to rebuild Gaza only to think that two years from now, or less, we are going to be back at the same table talking of rebuilding Gaza because the fundamental issues have not been dealt with," Kerry said.

"In the end we all want the same things. Security for the Israelis, freedom, dignity and a state for the Palestinians, peace and prosperity for both peoples."

Later this month Egypt is to mediate indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas militants seeking to turn their open-ended truce into a durable ceasefire.

That would be a first step before there could be any talk of restarting the broader peace process.

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