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"The framework is a basis upon which one could negotiate a final peace treaty because the outlines or the guidelines for what the final deal would look like would be agreed up," an unidentified senior State Department official told Reuters.
Secretary of State John Kerry is off to the Middle East this week - his 10th visit to the region since March - to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to push for some much-needed diplomatic progress.
This time Kerry is reported to bring with him a framework that could be used in the peace talks to negotiate a deal that would satisfy both camps, though it's clear Kerry does not expect a breakthrough in the next few days.
"The framework is a basis upon which one could negotiate a final peace treaty because the outlines or the guidelines for what the final deal would look like would be agreed up, and then you would work intensively to fill out the details," an unidentified senior State Department official told Reuters.
"We have established very well where the gaps are, but also generated some ideas that could help to serve as ways of bridging those gaps. The secretary's trip this time is to start to test those ideas with the two leaders," the official added.
According to Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman, Kerry will bring this framework to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The main issues, as they have been for some time, include the security of Israel, Palestine's nationhood, the borders between the two, Palestinian refugees, and who will have claim to Jerusalem.
The goal of the resumed peace talks is to have a solid peace agreement in nine-months time, which means that April 2014 is the deadline.
Kerry "has a real sense of urgency, a real sense of need to strike while the iron is hot. We consider the iron to be hot," the senior official said. "We're going to work assiduously to try to reach this framework agreement as soon as possible," he added.