U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is “determined” and “committed” to reaching a peace deal with Israel and the Palestinians.
Kerry said in an interview broadcast Thursday by Israel’s Channel 2 television, that he is not insulted by those who call him obsessed by the Middle East.
Kerry extended a trip to Paris by a day Thursday to meet again with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A senior State Department official said Kerry and Mr. Abbas held “an in-depth discussion about the core issues” on Wednesday. The State Department says the peace talks are at an important point.
Kerry has set an April 29 deadline for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel has said that deadline could be extended.
The talks began again in July after a three-year lull. Israel has freed a number of Palestinian prisoners while the Palestinians dropped their demand for Israel to stop settlement construction.
Both sides continue to disagree over such touchy issues as the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem in a possible Palestinian state.