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Kerry Meets Abbas in New Bid to Revive Peace Talks

  • Zlatica Hoke

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Jerusalem this week, in hopes of reviving the long-stalled Middle East peace talks.
Kerry held one-on-one talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday in Ramallah. The two agreed to continue working together to find the best path to peace, but made no official statements after their meeting.
Kerry arrived in the West Bank from Turkey where he urged officials to restore full diplomatic relations with Israel as soon as possible in the interest of stability in the region.
"We would like to see this relationship (between Israel and Turkey) that is important to stability in the Middle East, critical to the peace process itself, we would like to see this relationship get back on track in its full measure. To be back on track in its full measure, it is imperative that the compensation component of the agreement be fulfilled, that the ambassadors be returned and that a full relationship be embraced," he said.
During Kerry's meeting Sunday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a group of protesters demonstrated against his visit.
On Monday, Kerry will hold separate talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres, after taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a commemoration at the country's Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem on Sunday.
"What has changed since the Holocaust is our determination and our ability to defend ourselves, defend ourselves on our own. We appreciate the international community's efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program, but at no stage will we leave our fate in the hands of others, even our closest friends," he said.
As the nation began commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel after sundown on Sunday.
Kerry will meet with Netanyahu on Tuesday before leaving for London.

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