Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • Scores trapped as landslide hits Indian village

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

Middle east

Kerry returns to Middle East with peace talks on agenda

© Photo: AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-15

US Secretary of State John Kerry was headed to Jordan on Monday in a bid to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks, on his sixth peace-making journey to the region.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss his effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with Arab officials in Jordan on Wednesday, according to the State Department, which declined to comment on whether a resumption may be at hand.

Kerry will leave Washington on Monday night to fly to Amman to see officials from Jordan and the Arab League, which put forward a peace proposal in 2002 that offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war and accepted a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

There is deep skepticism among diplomats and Middle East analysts that the Israelis and Palestinians are likely to resume peace talks. Some regard the issue as a sideshow to Syria’s civil war, the Egyptian army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi and Iran’s suspected efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

Still, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki sounded an optimistic note about the chances for peace even though she, and another senior U.S. official, declined to say whether or not Kerry’s upcoming trip might be decisive.

“The secretary would not be going back to the region if he did not feel there was an opportunity (for) taking steps forward in providing an update to representatives of the Arab League ... but beyond that I don’t have any announcements or predictions to make,” Psaki said in a news briefing.

She said Kerry was likely to discuss Syria’s civil war, which has dragged on for more than two years, with the Arab officials. He was also ready to talk about the current visit to Egypt by his deputy, William Burns.

A Palestinian official told Reuters in Ramallah that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would see Kerry in Amman on Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss his drive to resume peace talks.

Psaki declined to comment on whether Kerry would meet Palestinian or Israeli officials, or on speculation that peace talks, which collapsed in 2010, might be close to resuming.

Kerry upbeat on last trip

Kerry is embarking on his sixth peace-making journey to the region since he took office on Feb. 1 and his first foreign trip since his wife suffered a seizure on July 7. Some observers saw this as a hint that he may have progress to unveil.

Kerry ended his last trip on an upbeat note, saying he believed “with a little more work the start of final status negotiations could be within reach” before departing Israel on June 30, leaving two senior aides behind to continue talks.

“It feels to us that ... he would not be going back so quickly if it was not to seal the deal. So we feel optimistic,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of a group called J Street, which describes itself as a pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby.

Israeli-Palestinian peace-making broke down in a dispute over building Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want for an independent state.

Abbas has said that, for new talks to be held, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu must freeze the settlements and recognize the West Bank’s boundary before its capture by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war as the basis for the border of a future Palestine.

Israel, seeking to keep its settlement blocs under any peace accord, has balked at those terms.

In Amman, Kerry plans to meet Jordanian King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

On Wednesday, he was expected to see representatives from the same Arab League group that he last met on April 29, which included officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, a senior U.S. official told reporters.

Kerry has sought to ensure that any new peace process would have the backing of the Arab states, who, if they were to offer Israel a comprehensive peace, hold a powerful card that could provide an incentive for Israel to compromise.

The core issues that must be settled in the dispute, which has lasted six decades, include borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-07-16

  • MIDDLE EAST

    Kerry, Abbas discuss reviving peace talks

    Read more

COMMENT(S)