Kerry flying to West Bank to pursue peace talks

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A U.S. official says Secretary of State John Kerry will fly to the West Bank to press his effort for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The extra stop indicates a possibility of success in Kerry’s sixth trip to the region this year, despite deep differences between the two sides.

The official said Kerry will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The secretary had a two-hour session with the chief Palestinian negotiator in Amman on Friday morning.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

After Palestinian leaders demanded further guarantees before restarting talks with Israel, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed his ideas with the chief Palestinian negotiator in Amman on Friday.

A stormy, high-level meeting of senior Palestinian leaders called to discuss Kerry’s latest peace proposal ended with a decision early Friday to demand that Israel agree on the general border of a future Palestinian state, officials said.

The demand casts a cloud of uncertainty over months of U.S. mediation efforts because Israel rejects preconditions.

Hoping to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks, President Barack Obama asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with Kerry “to resume negotiations with Palestinians as soon as possible,” according to a statement released by the White House late Thursday.

No details were immediately available about Kerry’s meeting with Erekat. The talks lasted more than two hours with a short break in the middle, possibly for consultations.

The Palestinians demand that the starting point for border talks must be the cease-fire line that held from 1949 until the 1967 war, when Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Palestinians claim those territories for their future state, with modifications reached through agreed land swaps that could allow major Jewish settlement blocs built in the West Bank becoming part of Israel proper, in exchange for territories in Israel.

Previous Israeli governments twice negotiated on the basis of the 1967 lines, but no peace accord was …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

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