WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry met a group of senior Arab officials on Monday as he sought to build regional support for any fresh push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
After meeting the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers as well as with officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League, Kerry and the Arab states voiced support for a 2002 Arab League peace initiative.
"I underscored the Arab League's very important role ... by reaffirming the Arab Peace Initiative here this afternoon," Kerry told reporters after the talks at Blair House, the US president's guest house. US Vice President Joe Biden attended part of the meeting.
The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in the 1967 war and accepted a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.
"The Arab League delegation understands that peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is ... a strategic choice for the Arab states," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who serves as Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, told reporters.