Kerry weighing Mideast trip to push peace talks

US Secretary of State to decide whether return to Israel, West Bank to push for decisions by both sides on peace talks.

June 3, 2013 19:44
1 minute read.
President Shimon Peres, US Secretary of State John Kerry and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Peres Abbas and Kerry at WEC 370. (photo credit: World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell)

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he will decide at some point whether to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories to push for decisions by the sides on reviving stalled peace talks to end their decades-old conflict.

"I will make a judgment at some point whether I need to go and push a little bit, or help that process, and I am certainly willing to. I am open to that possibility but we are not raising any expectations about an American plan," Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with the Polish foreign minister.

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Kerry on Sunday praised the the appointment of Rami Hamdallah as the new Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, while encouraging a return to negotiations for a two-state solution.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday asked Palestinian academic Rami Hamdallah to head a government.

"Together, we can choose the path of a negotiated two-state settlement that will allow Palestinians to fulfill their legitimate aspirations, and continue building the institutions of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state that will live in peace, security, and economic strength alongside Israel," Kerry said in the statement addressing Hamdallah's appointment.

Kerry was set to address the three-day American Jewish Committee parley on Monday and discuss his ongoing efforts to get the sides back to the table.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nassar Judeh said in Ramallah on Sunday following talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he  expected Kerry to visit Jordan “within days” to continue efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Last Monday, Kerry held separate surprise meetings in Jordan with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as he intensified his efforts to revive the peace process.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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