Kerry phones Abbas in bid to kick-start peace process

After phoning President Peres, freshman US Secretary of State contacts Palestinian president to discuss Middle East conflict; Peres tells Kerry: Israeli elections could lead to renewal of peace negotiations.

John Kerry visits Sderot 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
John Kerry visits Sderot 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Freshman US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday to discuss ways of kick-starting the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The call follows one he made on Saturday to President Shimon Peres, and gives further credence to rumors that he will make the long-standing Middle East conflict a priority during his term in office.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, Kerry conferred with Abbas about the necessity of holding meetings in the near future with the ultimate aim of restarting the peace process.
Citing PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Wafa reported that Kerry assured the PA head that US President Barack Obama "cares about the peace process" and is eager restart the stalled talks.
CNN reported Friday that Kerry is planning a mid-February visit to the Middle East as part of his first trip in his new role, including stops in Israel and Egypt. Last week, Kerry suggested that time was running out for a two-state solution with Israel living alongside a sovereign Palestinian state. He said it would be “disastrous” if it did.
The refreshed US-Palestinian track should come as no surprise to Israel; Kerry used his first phone call on Saturday to contact Peres. In a long conversation, Peres said that the elections results in Israel could create new opportunities for Israel, both domestically in vis-à-vis the peace process.