New Envoy for Mideast Peace Process

Secretary of State Kerry announces that U.S. ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, will take post.
15:18 | 07/29/13

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Transcript for New Envoy for Mideast Peace Process
This is a special room. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- For their first negotiations in three years secretary of state John Kerry today introduces the man and he hopes can broker a deal. With more on former ambassador Martin Indyk we're -- in the White House the north lawn which ABC's Mary -- is standing by Mary. Oh thank you for being with us today indyk as quite a long and -- Reza may give -- -- rundown. That's right this is a man as -- -- has now been tasked with trying to bring both sides together at the negotiating table he's a former US ambassador to Israel so we certainly. Knows the region very well on -- has tons of experience working with both sides here we expect secretary Kerry to announce shortly that he'll be the one heading up these negotiations. Is quite -- -- for him but he certainly is well suited for the job. And we will take secretary Kerry's remarks when he does take the podium in just a moment but we'll get a couple pictures here. Obviously so much attention is placed on these negotiations in the Israelis did something last night that -- in fact -- call. An act of good faith what happens. That's right these discussions come after prime minister Netanyahu yesterday and the Israeli ministers agreed to release a 104 Palestinian prisoners this is a major concession for the Israeli people they -- these prisoners as actual terrorists. So -- but prime minister Netanyahu convinced his ministers that this was what was necessary to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table and now -- they're gonna. There officials are here in Washington to begin that process -- to start Reid Reid did re addressing the issue of he stopped. And marry over and over to secretary -- right now rice's remarks again. -- you all know it's taken many hours in many trips. To make possible the resumption of Israeli Palestinian negotiations. And the negotiators are now on route to -- and -- even as we speak here. And I'll have more to say about the jury in this moment and what what our hopes are. After our initial meetings conclude tomorrow. This -- Imus historic trip to Israel and Ramallah in march of this year. And without his commitment without his conversations there -- without his engagement in this initiative. We would not be here today. The president charged me directly with the responsibility to explore fully. The possibility of resuming talks and in our meetings -- -- not -- and prime minister Netanyahu. He conveyed his expectations. For this process. Getting to this resumption has also taken the courageous. Leadership of prime minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. And I salute both of them for their willingness to make difficult decisions. And to abdicate. Within their own countries and -- their own leadership teams. Countries with the Palestinian territories. -- also like to recognize. The important contributions of senior negotiators on both sides. Particularly minister Tzipi Livni. And side America. Both of whom. Really stood up and stood strong in the face -- very tough criticism at home. And whose unwavering commitment made. The launch of these talks possible. I look forward to beginning work with them tonight. Going forward it's no secret that this is a difficult process there were easy. It would have happened a long time ago. It's no secret therefore that many difficult choices lie ahead for the negotiators. For the leaders. As we seek reasonable compromises. On tough complicated emotional and symbolic issues. I think reasonable compromises. Has to be a keystone of all of this effort. I know the negotiations are going to be tough. But I also know that the consequences of not trying. Could be worse. To help the parties navigate the path to peace and to avoid -- many pitfalls. We'll be very fortunate to have on our team. On a dated a basis. Working with the parties. Wherever they are negotiating. A seasoned American diplomat ambassador -- index. Who has agreed to take on this critical task at this crucial time. As -- UN. US. Excuse me US special envoy. For Israeli Palestinian negotiations. Assisting -- Will be. As his deputy and as a senior advisor to me. Will be frank Lowenstein who has been working with me on this process from the beginning. In his memoir about the peace process. Ambassador indirect quotes a poem by Samuel coloration -- begins. If men could learn from history what what lessons it would teach us. Ambassador indyk brings to this challenge is deeper appreciation for the history. Of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And from his service under President Clinton secretary Christopher and secretary Albright. He brings a deep appreciation for the art of US diplomacy in the Middle East. That experience has earned ambassador indyk the respect of both sides. And they know that he has made the cause of peace. -- He knows what has worked and he knows what hasn't worked. And he knows how important it is to get this right. Ambassador indyk is realistic. He understands that Israeli Palestinian peace will not come easily and it will not happen overnight. But he also understands. That there is now -- path forward and we must follow that path -- urgency. He understands that to ensure that lives are not -- mostly lost. We have to ensure that opportunities. Are not needlessly lost. And he shares my belief that if the leaders on both sides continue to show strong leadership. And a willingness to make those tough choices. And a willingness to reasonably compromise. Then peace is possible. So -- I'm grateful that you've agreed to take a leave from your post at the Brookings Institution. To serve once again in this most important role and I know that you are eager to get to work as -- Mr. secretary thank you. Very much for that generous introduction. And for -- in me such important responsibilities. I'm deeply -- To -- of view and -- of President Obama in your noble endeavor to achieve Israeli Palestinian peace. The fact that later today. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will sit down in this building. To resume final status negotiations after a three year hiatus. Is testament to -- extraordinary. Tireless efforts. Backed by President Obama. To try. To resolve this intractable. Conflict. President Obama made the case so eloquently in his historic speech in Jerusalem. In march of this year. When he argued to an audience of young Israelis that -- pace is necessary. Peace is shops. And peace. Is possible. And you mr. secretary have proven him right you've shown that it can be done. I couldn't agree more with President Obama. It's been my conviction for forty years that peace is possible. Since I experienced the agony of the 1973. -- to -- war. As a student in Jerusalem. -- goes dark days I witnessed first hand. How one of your princesses Henry Kissinger. Brokered -- cease fire that ended the war and pave the way for peace between Israel and Egypt. Because of your confidence that it could be done. You took up the challenge when most people thought you were on a Mission Impossible. And backed by the president. You drove the effort with persistence. Patience. And creativity. As a result today prime minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas have made the tough decisions require it to come back. To the negotiating table. I'm therefore deeply grateful to you. -- to President Obama for entrusting me with the mission of helping you take this breakthrough. And turned it into a full fledged Israeli Palestinian peace agreement. It is a dorm team and humbling challenge. But one that I cannot desist from. I look forward with great excitement to working review President Abbas and prime minister Netanyahu and -- things. To do -- best to achieve present Obama's vision of two states living side by side. In peace and security. There also look forward to working with the team that you -- sent. Starting with frank -- instant. Who as you say it has made such an important contribution to getting us to this point and who will be my partner in this and -- Fifteen years ago. My son Jacob. Who was to -- at the time. Designed to screen -- -- from my computer. It consisted of a simple question that flashed across the screen constantly. Dead. Is that peace in the Middle East yet. I guess you could say mister secretary that he was one of the original skeptics -- But behind that skepticism. Was also a -- And for fifteen years. -- only been -- to answer him. Not yet. Perhaps mr. secretary. Through your efforts and -- support. We may yet be able to tell -- and more importantly. Both of those young Israelis and Palestinians. Who yearned for a different data tomorrow. At this time we actually made it. Thank you all -- you. Let's -- gentleman speaking there is Martin Indyk he's the former ambassador to Israel -- personal narratives there about his efforts in. The Middle East peace process there and he will be leading discussions in Washington DC as representatives from both Israelis and Palestinians are making their way to DC tonight. But holding meetings this evening and then tomorrow as well and I want to bring in ABC's Mary -- -- outside the White House talk about this historic. Development. Mary it's been three years since the sides last spoke what's changed and and and -- is the bigger question is has. Secretary carries shuttle diplomacy. -- Paying -- now. Think this really critical time for the Obama administration President Obama was criticized during his first term for not doing enough to jump start these negotiations again secretary Kerry now has made this a top priority he's visited the Middle -- six times since he took -- fast as you -- -- showing that shuttle diplomacy is clearly alive and well. But is also gives a chance for the president to show that his administration takes this issue seriously and that they're doing everything they can. To jump start this process and restart negotiations and so who'll be representing both sides on the way to DC. The tech President Abbas and prime minister Netanyahu of those sent their top aides to Washington. Tonight they'll sit down for working dinner with secretary Kerry at that State Department. And this really have talks about talks this is the first step in this very long arduous process we expect they'll be talking about a lot of logistics. Lot of discussions about the schedule where these negotiations will happen who will be at the table. But this the first chance for them to do to have that face to face meeting and really start this process tomorrow they'll meet again in Washington before returning home. And the next time they need we expect will be in the Middle East and that ambassador indyk will be there to lead to lead the charge. We of course -- the Israeli government and of course the Palestinian Authority. From the West Bank what about Hamas they played a key role in these discussions. We don't expect to play key role in this discussion but obviously it's always the elephant in the room they are always there. In the back of everyone's minds that this is really a discussion between President Abbas and and prime minister Netanyahu. I -- -- -- should take wider stance on and focus on this if you look at the bigger situation in the region has that what's been happening in Egypt. Obviously with increasing tension and the president there -- more -- being the poster couple weeks back has ever putting pressure on both sides to at least. Begin some kind of a process. Absolutely I think that without a doubt that actually increases the pressure on the situation you know. The winds of change been blowing through the Middle East ever since the Arab Spring but those changes those -- have not yet come to come to Israel Palestine so that absolutely puts pressure. On the US on the Israelis on the Palestinians to finally sit down and really work this out. And what about Syria -- well obviously the fighting within that country is that -- some kind of incentive on the table and -- of these sides to get back to two resuming talks. Absolutely they are buried again another key player you have -- and the ongoing conflict there because of the situation in Iran which is which is tenuous. So all of these things coming together to put pressure on everyone to kind of create a perfect storm for them to sit down in -- -- -- -- -- -- As you pointed out obviously has a great deal -- -- mean put on the White House now for the moves that they'll be making in these discussions and what kind of an outlook to they have as far as optimistic progress in the next 48 hours. Like I said this is a very long process and -- -- sitting down today. To start that conversation to start discussing how they want to discuss this going forward so I wouldn't expect anything coming out of the next 48 hours but this is a very important symbolic moment this is the beginning of this process after three years since they first -- they last spoke this is really that that critical moment where they begin to see where this can go forward. And and the White House is optimistic that that this will be the beginning of an important dialogue. The talk about the talks first step in the process ABC's Mary Bruce outside the White House Mary thank you for that. Again a new round of Israeli Palestinian peace talks begin this evening in Washington DC former ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. Will be the lead mediator in those proceedings. For a full write up check out For now I'm Dan cuts or New -- this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from the.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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