BRASILIA - Secretary of State John Kerry, trying to keep his Middle East peace initiative on track in the face of fresh controversy over Israeli settlements, said he had "frank and open" talks on the matter on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At a press conference with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, Kerry reiterated that the United States views the settlements as "illegitimate."
Kerry, who planned to speak later in the day with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said he believed the Palestinian leader "is committed to continue" peace talks with Israel. Some Palestinians have called for boycotting the negotiations, due to resume on Wednesday.
Israel in recent days has announced tenders for or advanced the planning process on about 3,100 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.