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June 27, 2013

Kerry, Netanyahu Meet as Israel Stresses Security

by VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a bid to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The two men held talks over a working dinner late Thursday in Jerusalem.  They made no public comments before the meeting.  

Earlier Thursday,  Netanyahu said Israel will not waiver on its security concerns.  

"We want peace because we want to live in peace.  It's true, we don't want a bi-national state, but don't let anyone be under the illusion that if we make an agreement with the Palestinians this agreement will end the violent slur against the state of the Jews," said Netanyahu.

Secretary Kerry is shuttling between Jerusalem and Jordan's capital, Amman, in hopes of jumpstarting Middle East peace talks, which have been at an impasse in recent years.  

Earlier Thursday, Kerry met with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman.

In Amman, Kerry said Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas share "a serious commitment of purpose."  But the top U.S. diplomat warned that both leaders will be tested by those who do not want peace talks to succeed.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Abbas in Amman on Friday.  

On Wednesday, Israel announced plans to build dozens of new housing units in an East Jerusalem settlement, triggering anger from some Palestinian officials.  Israeli settlement construction has been a stumbling block in Middle East peace talks.