Kerry denies preparing Middle East peace plan

The Obama administration on Monday denied reports it was preparing its own Middle East peace plan because it wants to be able to showcase a “diplomatic breakthrough” at the start of 2014.

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Israel's Haaretz on Monday quoted a senior member of the Knesset as saying that the administration plans to unveil its own plan for a draft Two-State permanent status agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has made the peace talks a top priority, denied the report.

“With respect to the question of whatever rumor or whatever speculation this article has been written off, let me categorically dispel any notion that there is anything other than the track that is formally engaged in between Israel and the Palestinians,” Kerry told reporters in Saudi Arabia. “And the only plan we have at this point in time is to pursue that discussion and the discussion track that we’ve always talked about, which is the leaders track, which is the discussions between President Obama, myself, Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, and President [Mahmoud] Abbas. 

“So it’s just incorrect. There is no other plan at this point in time.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf later in the day called the report “wild speculation and rumor that is just not borne out by the facts ... going on on the ground right now.”

Kerry arrives in Israel and the West Bank on Tuesday as the peace talks he helped relaunch this summer appear to have stalled. Abbas in a speech in Ramallah on Monday said there had not been “any advancement in the talks with the Israelis until now despite all the meetings between the sides” and blamed continued Israeli settlement activity, including the publication of tenders for 1,730 new housing units in the occupied territories.

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