John Kerry and Mahmoud Abbas..
(photo credit: Reuters)
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were schedule to meeting on Wednesday in London, the State Department announced on Monday.
While the State Department did not rule out discussion of the peace process during the meeting, it did not explicitly state that the two were planning to talk about resuming Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
"While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians," the State Department said in a statement.
"Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful," the statement read.
Earlier on Monday, AFP cited a Palestinian official as saying Abbas would discuss the state of the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with Kerry in a final attempt to salvage the situation.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki initially denied the report.
"The meeting will discuss a possible resumption of negotiations with Israel," the official said. "It could be the last attempt by Kerry to revive negotiations," the Palestinian official said.
The nine-month deadline for the talks passed on April 29. Immediately following the expiration date, Abbas signed a unity agreement with Hamas leaders, angering both Israel and the US and derailing immediate possibility of restarting the talks.
In response, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Abbas needed to choose whether he wants peace with Israel or Hamas, because he cannot have both.
Last Thursday, US envoy Martin Indyk placed blame on both parties
for what he prescribed as a "breakdown" in negotiations.