Kerry throws down gauntlet to Israelis, Palestinians

Kerry throws down gauntlet to Israelis, Palestinians

ALGIERS, Algeria - US Secretary of State John Kerry threw down a challenge to recalcitrant Israeli and Palestinian leaders Thursday, saying now was the time when they had to choose whether to make peace.

"You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions to compromise," Kerry said in Algiers at the start of a trip to North Africa.

"The leaders have to lead, and they have to be able to see a moment when it's there," he added, showing signs of frustration after his months-long peace efforts appeared to be in tatters.

Negotiating teams from the US, Israel and the Palestinians met late Wednesday to try to chart a path forward after both sides took steps Washington has criticised as "unhelpful."

"There's an old saying, 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink,'" Kerry said at the Algerian foreign ministry.

"Now's the time to drink; the leaders need to know that."

He added that the United States remained committed to the talks, and said that after the trilateral meeting on Wednesday discussions would continue.

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