John Kerry in Israel 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman before flying to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later on Saturday as he seeks ways to revive long-stalled peace talks.
Kerry's back-to-back meetings will follow 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.
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. Kerry accompanied Obama on his four-day Middle East trip.
"In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening, Secretary Kerry will meet with President Abbas at his house in Amman later this afternoon to continue the conversations they started with President Obama and the secretary earlier this week," a State Department official said. Kerry told The Jerusalem Post
on Friday that Obama believes that peace is “possible” and his administration is “going to work very hard to advance that process.”
Speaking ahead of the the president’s speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Kerry said that he hopes the president’s visit will advance the peace process, although it is ultimately “up to the people of Israel and the Palestinians.”
“The President believes every word he said yesterday,” Kerry added, referring to Obama’s speech to university students
at the Jerusalem Convention Center on Thursday evening.
Kerry said that Friday’s ceremony -in which Obama lit a flame in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust- was both “very moving and very touching,” and stated that it is “overwhelming in many ways to touch such an extraordinary, tragic history.”
However, he continued, the president was also “celebrating” what the secretary of state called “an extraordinary rebirth and resurgence.”
“I think it’s one of history’s great stories,” Kerry told the Post