Kerry says skeptics about Middle East peace are wrong

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shunned the skeptics on Tuesday and said that he firmly believes there can be peace between Israel and Palestine.

Kerry made the remarks on Tuesday from Washington during a press conference with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat. Kerry said he believes in the possibility of peace and that a viable two-state solution is the only way to end the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"So while I understand the skepticism, I don't share it and I don't think we have time for it," Kerry said. "I firmly believe the leaders, the negotiators, and citizens invested in this effort can make peace for one simple reason: because they must. A viable two-state solution is the only way this conflict can end, and there is not much time to achieve it, and there is no other alternative. We all need to be strong in our belief in the possibility of peace, courageous enough to follow through on our faith in it, and audacious enough to achieve what these two peoples have so long aspired to and deserve."

During their visit to the U.S., Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues. The officials planned to meet within the next two weeks, either in Israel or the Palestinian Territories, to begin a process of formal negotiation.

Kerry said both parties agreed that all core issues, final status issues and other issues are on the table for negotiation with the goal of a view to ending the conflict.

"Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months," Kerry said. "The parties also agreed that the two sides will keep the content of the negotiations confidential. The only announcement you will hear about meetings is the one that I just made. And I will be the only one, by agreement, authorized to comment publicly on the talks, in consultation, obviously, with the parties. That means that no one should consider any reports, articles, or other - or even rumors - reliable, unless they come directly from me, and I guarantee you they won't."

Kerry praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, along with their designated negotiators, for their belief that peace is a possibility.