Ahead of the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Abbas on Sunday to "take difficult decisions" for the sake of peace, an American official has revealed.
The State Department official said that Kerry "urged Abbas to take difficult decisions, which would be necessary" in order to sign a framework peace agreement with Israel by 29 April.
The meeting between Abbas and Kerry lasted for three hours and the talks were described as "candid and fruitful". The US official related that Kerry "thanked Abbas for his leadership and firm partnership during the last several months".
Kerry also affirmed that both parties must urgently push the negotiations forward. "Despite the fact that obstacles have existed for decades, both parties cannot avoid taking difficult decisions during this stage in order to reach a permanent peace," the official reported Kerry as saying.
Kerry brought together the Palestinian and the Israeli peace teams in July of last year after about three years of impasse. The goal of these efforts is to reach a framework agreement by the end of April for the two parties to then negotiate the final status issues.