US Department of State daily press briefing – Middle East peace process – Non-UN document (excerpts)

Marie Harf

Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

March 27, 2014

Index for Today's Briefing


  • Internal Discussions


1:22 p.m. EDT


QUESTION: Can we go to the Arab – Palestinian-Israeli peace process?

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: The Israeli press insists that Prime Minister Netanyahu informed Secretary of State Kerry that there will be no release of prisoners as scheduled tomorrow on the 29th – I’m sorry, on the 29th of this month, on Saturday, unless Abbas agrees to extend the talks, thinking that if he gets the prisoners released then he would have no incentive. Could you comment on that or could you say yes he has, no he hasn’t?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to comment on any of the internal discussions we’re having with the parties right now.

QUESTION: Okay. So —

QUESTION: But, I mean, if those prisoners are not released, I mean, that does severely kind of put a dent in peace efforts; it looks as if it could all fall apart if those prisoners are not released this week.

MS. HARF: I’m not going to speculate on what might happen on any scenario.

QUESTION: Do you think that Abbas perhaps made a mistake by putting such a huge stake on the prisoners’ release, where the jeopardy of the peace talks now is – looms over or – looms in the horizon?

MS. HARF: Said, I’m not going to do any more analysis about what the different parties have done as part of these negotiations.

QUESTION: Well, but —

MS. HARF: They’re private for a reason. And I’m not going to – I’m not going to do analysis on what the parties have done throughout them. I’m just not.

QUESTION: That’s fine. But – I understand you don’t want to talk about the sensitive discussions or anything that’s going in there, but the Secretary himself has spoke about the importance of this prisoner release. So the fact that the Israelis are now saying that it’s not going to happen is very serious.

MS. HARF: Again, I don’t have anything to predict for you. I don’t have any details about the discussions that are ongoing right now.

QUESTION: Do you see the talks now as being – is there a logjam or is there – I mean, are they stalled? How do you —

MS. HARF: I think throughout —

QUESTION: How do you see —

MS. HARF: Throughout these talks there have —

QUESTION: — the process to move them forward?

MS. HARF: — there have been gaps that have existed.


MS. HARF: We have narrowed them throughout the many months we’ve been working on this, but there’s still some more unnarrowing to do.

QUESTION: Okay. But as the clock keeps on ticking and we’re getting really close to the nine-month period, what is Plan B to you? Do you have a Plan B?

MS. HARF: We’re operating under Plan A right now —


MS. HARF: — which is working through both parties. The Secretary’s had a lot of conversations, and we’ll see where they go.



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