US Dept. of State daily press briefing – Middle East peace process/Extension of negotiations/Non-UN document (excerpts)

Jen Psaki

Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

April 21, 2014

  • MEPP 
    • Parties Focused on Extending Negotiations
    • Palestinian Institutions
    • No Travel Announcements for Secretary Kerry
    • Reconciliation Efforts between Hamas and Fatah
    • Supreme Court / Visas


QUESTION: If we could change topics to the Palestinian-Israeli —

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: — peace talks.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Today there is a meeting that is ongoing that’s supposed to either resolve the – I mean, put life back into the process or basically announce it brain-dead.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Could you comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, we’re focused on helping the parties find a way to extend the negotiations, because we believe they both want to find a way to do that. Unfortunately, developments over the last month make it – made it necessary to find a new formula or mechanism to move it forward, but we would hope that the parties can reach agreement as soon as possible. As long as they want to find a way to continue the negotiations, we’re willing to help them do that.

QUESTION: So the focus now on extending the talks —

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — not necessarily a framework agreement that may come out between now and the 29th, correct?

MS. PSAKI: The parties – the focus between the parties is on extending the talks, yes.

QUESTION: So in other words, we are not likely to see a framework, or at least an announcement of a framework by, let’s say, the 29th of this month.

MS. PSAKI: Their focus at this point is on extending negotiations.

QUESTION: Are you making headway?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to give a further readout of it. Obviously, we’re – continue to work with the parties, and it is going to be up to them to determine whether there’s path forward.

QUESTION: And my last question.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Are you telling Abbas not to keep issuing statements and proclamations that they are going to sort of just close shop with the PA and turn over the occupation responsibility to the Israelis?

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me speak to that, because it’s an important question. That – we’re aware, of course, of these reports and comments. That type of extreme step would obviously have grave implications. A great deal of effort has gone into building Palestinian institutions by Palestinians as well as the international community, and it would certainly not be in the interests of the Palestinian people for all of that to be lost. We – the United States has put millions of dollars into this effort. It would obviously have very serious implications for our relationship, including our assistance going forward. And as I just noted, of course, the parties are continuing to work to find the basis for extending the negotiations. Ambassador Indyk is there to help facilitate that, and that’s where our focus is.


QUESTION: Sorry. Does the Secretary still remain willing and able to fly over to help get an extension?

MS. PSAKI: He does, but there’s no plans I have to announce today.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, would you say that if there was going to be an extension that he would be involved in it – directly involved in it? In other words, on the ground before the 29th, which is only 8 days.

MS. PSAKI: I understand why you’re asking the question. But again, it’s between the parties, so I think it would only be if there’s a determination that would be helpful.

QUESTION: Right. But if they would ask for him to come, he has not gotten so fed up with this process and shuttling back and forth all the time, he would go?

MS. PSAKI: No. He would, I think, be open to discussing what the most useful steps are. But again, it’s between the parties, so we’d have to consider what the right steps are.

QUESTION: But right now – so you don’t expect him to make a trip over there at the last minute just before this – the target deadline expires?

MS. PSAKI: There’s – I have no trip to announce at this point, but we’ll keep monitoring day by day what would be most productive.

QUESTION: If there were to be an extension, it is natural to expect that the Secretary of State would announce. I mean, that’s been his project all along.

MS. PSAKI: You’re the communications planner in chief here, Said.

QUESTION: Well, I’m not. I’m just a modest reporter. I’m not —

MS. PSAKI: I don’t want to make a prediction of that. Obviously, it would be because the parties agreed to extend. So I don’t want to make a prediction of what would happen.

QUESTION: I’ve got two very, very brief ones on different —

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: I’ve got one more on this issue.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t. But let me check with our team and see if there’s anything we have to say on that.

QUESTION: All right. One, did you get any answers to my questions about this letter that was sent to Representative Lowey and other members of Congress? Or we can do it when you have more time, if you want.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah. We don’t have the final answers yet, but we’re continuing to work on those.

QUESTION: Okay. Secondly, you will have seen that the Supreme Court this morning said that it would look into or we – go over this case about the – involving passports and whether people born in Jerusalem can have their passport to say “Jerusalem, Israel”? I’m presuming that the Administration position on this, which is that it should not – that’s a final status issue and it has not changed since previous times this has come to court. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of it changing. No.


(The briefing was concluded at 1:41 p.m.)

DPB # 70

Document symbol: USDOS_DBP #70
Document Type: Briefing, Press briefing, Transcript
Country: Israel, United States of America
Subject: Negotiations and agreements, Peace process
Publication Date: 21/04/2014
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