- Associated Press - Friday, July 19, 2013

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians will meet soon in Washington to finalize an agreement on relaunching peace negotiations for the first time in five years.

Kerry has told reporters that he and the two sides “reached an agreement that establishes a basis for direct final status negotiations,” but he added that it is “still in the process of being formalized.”

He says “if everything goes as expected,” Israeli and Palestinians negotiators will hold initial talks “within the next week or so.”

The announcement Friday came at the end of a visit by Kerry to the region holding several days of talks with both sides.