Kerry, Abbas to discuss peace talks: Palestinians

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in London on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said, weeks after Middle East peace talks collapsed.

AFP| Last Updated: May 13, 2014, 02:23 AM IST

Ramallah: US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in London on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said, weeks after Middle East peace talks collapsed.

"The meeting will discuss a possible resumption of negotiations with Israel," the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
But Kerry`s spokeswoman denied there were any plans for the US top diplomat to hold talks with the Palestinian leader during a scheduled trip to London this week.

"There`s no meeting planned," Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that Kerry would be in London on Thursday for discussions on the conflict in Syria.

Kerry`s peace efforts derailed even ahead of their April 29 deadline, with Palestinian and Israeli leaders exchanging recriminations and reneging on commitments made during nine months of fruitless meetings.

"The meeting could be the last attempt by Kerry to revive negotiations," the Palestinian official said.
Should the peace talks resume, Kerry believes both sides must work on the future contours of a Palestinian state and security arrangements for Israel alongside other core issues such as refugees and Jerusalem.

Israeli security took precedence throughout much of the last talks, overshadowing the issues of future borders and refugees.

During the talks, the Jewish state also announced thousands of new settler homes in the West Bank, on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

In late March, Israel backtracked on a pledge made at the start of the talks in July 2013 to release a final batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners, prompting Abbas to seek membership of several international treaties, breaking his own commitments.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation, which is dominated by Abbas`s Fatah party, then signed a surprise reconciliation agreement with Islamist rivals Hamas on April 23, after which an incensed Israel pulled out of the talks.