Kerry Returns to ME to Discuss Israeli-Palestinian Peace


kerry abbasU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to the Middle East for the sixth time in five months for talks about reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and responding to Syria’s civil war.

Kerry plans to meet in Amman, Jordan, with Arab League and Jordanian officials, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday in Washington. In addition to Mideast peace efforts and Syria, Kerry will brief them on Deputy Secretary William Burns’s meetings this week with Egyptian officials.

Kerry, who was in the region two weeks ago, claimed progress at that time in prodding Israelis and Palestinians back toward peace negotiations and in reaching agreement with Russia about an eventual peace conference on Syria’s civil war.

State Department officials, at least initially, played down expectations for Kerry’s latest visit. Kerry left Washington last night.

Psaki said there were no plans to visit Israel.

While refusing to provide details about Kerry’s plans to work on the Mideast peace process during the trip, Psaki said, “The secretary would not be going back to the region if he did not feel there was an opportunity to keep taking steps forward in providing an update to representatives of the Arab League, as part of that. But beyond that, I don’t have any announcements or predictions to make for all of you.”

While he’s in Amman, Kerry also is expected to meet with officials from Egypt’s interim government, according to a State Department official wasn’t authorized to speak for attribution. The official said it wasn’t clear which officials would come or how high-ranking they would be.