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Kerry cites progress in Gaza cease-fire talks

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published July 23, 2014 at 7:50 a.m. Updated July 23, 2014 at 8:27 a.m.

us-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-right-and-chief-palestinian-negotiator-saeb-erekat-arrive-to-a-meeting-with-palestinian-president-mahmoud-abbas-in-the-west-bank-city-of-ramallah-on-wednesday-july-23-2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat arrive to a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

JERUSALEM — The United States on Wednesday said negotiations to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas militants are making some progress even if an end to more than two weeks of bloodshed is nowhere near.

"We certainly have made steps forward," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem, where he met for the second time this week with United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. "There's still work to be done."

He did not offer any specifics about the progress he cited in his third day of talks with Mideast leaders. He was in Jerusalem shortly after landing in Tel Aviv on an Air Force jet — one day after the FAA banned commercial flights into Ben-Gurion Airport because of a Hamas rocket attack nearby.

White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said there must be a way forward that does not involve Hamas having the ability to "rain down rockets on Israeli civilians."

"One of the results, one would hope, of a cease-fire would be some form of demilitarization so that this doesn't continue, doesn't repeat itself," Blinken said in an interview with NPR. "That needs to be the end result."

Asked about Blinken's remarks, Kerry said, "All of the issues of Gaza would be on the table."

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