Kerry: Deal on Mideast talks still to be finalized

July 19, 2013
View photos
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, makes his way to board a flight to reach the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he is expected to hold new talks with Palestinian president Mahmuod Abbas on Friday, July 19, 2013 in the Jordanian capital Amman. Kerry Friday met earlier with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat in a final push to get a peace bid back on track before heading home. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stepped up his drive Friday to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, facing Palestinian reluctance over his formula for resuming peace talks after nearly five years.(AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

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.