Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kerry,Abbas Debate Dubious Mideast Peace Talks; Meet 4 Hours, Deadline for Agreement Is April 30

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met today (March 27, 2014) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to salvage foundering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that were dealt a herculean blow recently, when Arab leaders said they never would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the Newsmax World website reports.

Kerry and Abbas spoke for more than four hours over a working dinner in the Jordanian capital of Amman that U.S. officials said were "constructive." No other details of the meeting were released. Kerry has planned further talks with Abbas and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming days.

Kerry flew from Rome to Amman today to see Abbas as negotiations approached a critical April 30, 2014 deadline for a settlement. The Palestinians have threatened to walk away before then unless Israel releases a group of prisoners -- as it had promised when the peace talks began last year -- by March 30.

Speaking to reporters earlier today in Kuwait, Abbas said he was still waiting to receive a formal framework proposal from Kerry. He added there have been no talks of extending the peace negotiations beyond the April deadline, adding that the coming month would be "a very important period" for agreeing to an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

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