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Kerry arrives in Jordan for peace talks

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 22:14

Amman: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan today on his sixth Middle East trip in as many months as he pushes for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

During his visit, Kerry is due to hold separate meetings with Jordanian leaders, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and an Arab League delegation.

Kerry was to meet later today with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and have dinner with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Tomorrow, he is to hold talks with King Abdullah II and Arab League officials to "provide an update on Middle East peace," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Officials had said Kerry would separately meet with the king, Abbas and Judeh today. Talks will also focus on the political upheaval in Egypt and the conflict in Syria, and it was expected that Egypt, a key member of the Arab League, will be sending someone to join the meeting in Amman.

A Palestinian official had told AFP that Abbas would meet Kerry in Jordan tomorrow. "It is expected that (Palestinian) president Abbas and Kerry will meet in Amman," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We are waiting to see what new ideas Kerry will bring with him after his last tour of the region."

A senior State Department official said: "Secretary Kerry will have a private dinner with President Abbas this (today) evening."

The full details of the trip were not yet finalised, said Psaki. Another US official said it was not known who would represent the interim Egyptian government following the military`s July 3 ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

Since he took office on February 1, Kerry has made a search for a long-elusive Middle East peace deal one of the top priorities of his tenure.

But US officials were quick to downplay hopes that his return to the region signalled that an announcement was pending on a resumption of the talks, which have stalled since September 2010.
Psaki said however: "The secretary would not be going back to the region if he did not feel there was an opportunity to keep making steps forward."
Last month Kerry spent four days locked in intensive shuttle diplomacy seeking to coax the two sides to end a nearly three-year stalemate, and said "with a little more work, the start of final status negotiations could be within reach."


First Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 08:54

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