Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released a statement on the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The statement follows:

I want to commend Secretary of State John Kerry for his breakthrough in restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. I am under no illusions as to the difficult nature of these negotiations, but for the future of Israel and the broader Middle East, I sincerely hope they succeed.

For years, I and many others have been calling for direct, face to face talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians without preconditions, and it appears that this will be the case.

I have long supported a two-state solution under the principle of two states for two peoples; a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian Arab state, living side by side in peace and security. I hope the parties will be able to achieve that goal.

I have had many discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu through the years about the peace process, and he has always assured me that Israel is and has always been ready to make the difficult decisions necessary to reach peace. I hope that President Abbas will also be willing to make such decisions.