John Kerry talks Palestine, Ukraine on London trip | News | DW | 16.12.2014
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John Kerry talks Palestine, Ukraine on London trip

US Secretary of State John Kerry is on a whirlwind tour of Europe to talk Mideast diplomacy. At a London press conference he walked the thin line between Palestine and Israel, and blamed Putin for the troubled ruble.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was in London on Tuesday to meet with Palestinian and Arab officials in an effort to get peace talks back on track. He said that immediate priorities were curbing growing violence, and cited recent examples such as Israelis stabbed while buying groceries and a senior Palestinian official who died during a West Bank protest.

Kerry added that it was important to respond to the frustrations of Palestinians, but said Israel and Palestine themselves had the final word, not other nations.

"In the end, though, this isn't up to the international community or others," he told reporters.

London is the last stop on Kerry's three-day Middle East diplomacy tour, after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome (pictured) and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany in Paris.

Netanyahu took a very hard line against Palestinian and French proposals for a UN-mandated timeline for negotiations and a two-state solution.

French plan

France has pushed for a proposal going back to the 1967 borders, which US President Barack Obama has publicly backed. The French plan, which has not yet been formally introduced, was prompted by a more far-reaching Jordanian-authored framework that calls for full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within two years and the recognition of Palestine as a state.

But support for France's plan is uncertain, even in Europe. Many countries, especially Germany, are wary of setting at 2016 deadline.

Suffering in Russia depends on Putin

Kerry also spoke briefly about Ukraine and the free-fall of the ruble on Tuesday. Responding to criticisms that painful US and European sanctions were hurting the Russian people, Kerry responded that the choice to end the suffering of Russians was in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

"We do not want the people to be hurting, this is not our goal. None of what we are doing is specifically target against the people…but yes, collaterally they are caught up in the choices their government makes,” Kerry told the press.

"These sanctions could be lifted in a matter of weeks or days, depending on the choices that President Putin takes, " he added.

es/ (AP, AFP)

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