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Kerry Back in Jerusalem After Talks with Abbas


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman June 28, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is back in Israel for another round of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu less than 24 hours after a working dinner there.
Between those meetings, Kerry met in Jordan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A senior State Department official traveling with Kerry says his back and forth between Jordan and Israel is part of an effort to come up with a formula that works for both Netanyahu and Abbas. The goal being not simply getting back to peace talks but doing so in a way that gives them the best chance at a lasting, two-state solution.

Secretary Kerry shakes hands with Prime Minister Netanyahu during a meeting in Jerusalem on June 27, 2013.
Secretary Kerry shakes hands with Prime Minister Netanyahu during a meeting in Jerusalem on June 27, 2013.
​Kerry is downplaying the long-contentious issue of Israeli settlements, and is pushing both a private sector plan to boost economic development in the West Bank and high tech solutions to Israeli concerns about security in a two-state solution.

While he says he is not putting a deadline on a return to talks, Kerry said the delay "allows a vacuum to be filled by people who don't want things to happen."

"The passage of time, obviously, has the ability to wear out people's patience and to feed cynicism and to give people a sense of impossibility where there is in fact possibility," said Kerry.

Palestinians have backed off an early June deadline for restarting talks, now setting September's start of the United Nations General Assembly as the goal. It was there last year that Palestinians won an overwhelming vote to boost their official U.N. status.

Without progress on a peace plan, Palestinians could move to join the U.N. Human Rights Commission and sign on to the International Criminal Court where they could push charges of Israeli war crimes. The United States was one of the few countries that voted against the Palestinians last year, and Kerry said a U.N. vote this September would be even more lopsided.

"With respect to September, long before September we need to be showing some kind of progress in some way because I don't think we have the luxury of that kind of time," he said.

U.S. officials say Kerry's late Thursday dinner with Netanyahu included "a productive, indepth, and wide-ranging conversation about the importance of moving forward on the peace process." His return after talks in Amman with Abbas shows Kerry's "sustained commitment" to the two-state solution.
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