U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East where he met in Jerusalem late Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is expected to meet in Amman Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry opened this latest round of peace efforts in Amman in talks with King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on the Arab League peace initiative, the private sector plan to improve the economy of the West Bank, and U.S. efforts to help Israelis resolve concerns about security in a two-state solution. Kerry then drove to Jerusalem for talks with the Israeli prime minister.
It was a nearly four-hour dinner meeting that U.S. officials say included a "productive, in-depth, and wide-ranging conversation about the importance of moving forward on the peace process." Netanyahu is under pressure from more conservative members of his ruling coalition to scrap the two-state idea. Kerry says the Israeli leader understands the complications and the downsides of failure.
Back in Jordan, Kerry meets Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who is also under political pressure to deliver on his non-violent approach to Israel, having accepted the resignation of his newly-appointed prime minister just three weeks into office.
A senior State Department official says Kerry is trying to find a formula that works for both men. The goal here: not simply getting back to peace talks but doing so in a way that gives both sides the chance to find a lasting solution.