Kerry meets Abbas and Netanyahu, bid to revive peace talks

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday after earlier talking to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in a bid to revive stalled peace talks.

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

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 a 1967 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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