- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are going forward as planned, set for a possible solution by April.

He made the prediction at the tail end of his second visit to the area in a week — a snowy venture that was marked by a delayed meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Mr. Kerry had been set to meet with the Israeli leader before meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — but the visits were reversed when Mr. Kerry was stymied by dramatic snowfall from reaching Jerusalem, various media reported.

But all talks ultimately went forth — and Mr. Kerry cheered the results, Reuters reported.

“Both parties remain committed to fulfilling their obligations to stay at the table and negotiate hard during the nine-month period that we set for that,” Mr. Kerry said to reporters, following the talks, Reuters said.

He added, the news outlet reported: “We remain hopeful that we can achieve that final status agreement. Why? Because we are absolutely confident … that for both sides, and the region at large, peace can bring enormous benefits.”

At the same time, both Palestinian and Israeli officials say the talks have been stalled somewhat — and that’s why Mr. Kerry has made so many personal visits to the region, Reuters reported.