Kerry meets Abbas, Netanyahu after Obama visit

US secretary of state meets with PA president, prime minister Netanyahu to seek common ground to resume peace talks.

By REUTERS
March 23, 2013 22:16
1 minute read.
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, March 23, 2013.

Kerry and Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

JERUSALEM - US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday after earlier talking to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in a bid to revive stalled peace talks.

Kerry's back-to-back meetings followed up on US President Barack Obama's visits to Israel and the West Bank this week in which he called for fresh diplomatic efforts but offered no new peace proposals of his own.

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Kerry, who had accompanied Obama on his trip and then stayed on in the region, met privately for two hours with Abbas in Jordan's capital of Amman, a Palestinian source told Reuters.

A State Department official said earlier that Kerry planned "to continue the conversations they started with President Obama and the secretary earlier this week."

Neither side issued any formal statements after Kerry's meeting with Abbas, and their senior aides declined initially to divulge any details.

A Palestinian source speaking on condition of anonymity said the talks had focused on "trying to find common ground between both sides to see if there is ground to resume peace talks," and cautioned against expecting any quick results.

"It could take some time" to achieve a formal resumption of negotiations, the source said.

Peace talks ran aground in late 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in land Israel captured in the 1967 Six Days War that Palestinians seek for a state.

In Jerusalem, Kerry was photographed meeting with Netanyahu but no official statements were released.

Obama promised that Kerry, Washington's new top diplomat, would dedicate time and energy to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, one in which the president failed to make progress during his first term.


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