Millennium Post

Mid-east peace: John Kerry wins backing from Arab

US secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday won Arab League backing for his effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, raising hopes for a quick resumption in the stalled negotiations.

Kerry, on his sixth trip to the Middle East in as many months as America’s top diplomat, met representatives of the Arab League and nine of its members that support a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia.

At a news conference, Kerry said that the Israelis and Palestinians were narrowing gaps that have prevented them from restarting talks. Kerry refused to discuss details of the proposals he laid out to the Arab officials or how the gap with the Israelis had narrowed.

‘We continue to get closer and I continue to be hopeful that the sides will be able to come together at the same table,’ Kerry said. He spoke at a news conference with Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh. In a statement after the meeting with Kerry, Arab delegates said they supported Kerry’s initiative.

‘The Arab delegates believe Kerry’s ideas proposed to the committee today constitute a good ground and suitable environment for restarting the negotiations, especially the new and important political, economic and security elements,’ the statement said.

A more muted response came from Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Ishtayeh, who said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be holding a meeting of the PLO leadership to discuss Kerry’s ideas.  ‘We are keen to see Kerry’s efforts work, but so far there are no promising signs from the Israeli side,’ Ishtayeh said.
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