February 20, 2014
Kerry, Abbas Meet for Second Day in Peace Talk Push
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry extended his visit to Paris for a second day to meet again with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of efforts to forge a framework Middle East peace accord.
A senior State Department official said Kerry and Mr. Abbas met for a second time Thursday after holding "an in-depth discussion about the core issues" a day earlier.
The official said Kerry and Mr. Abbas agreed it would be beneficial to continue the discussions.
U.S. officials say the talks are at an important point, ahead of an April 29 deadline to find an agreement between Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The renewed talks have made little progress since the two sides agreed to re-open the process last July on a nine-month timeline, following a three-year break.
During initial meetings, Israel agreed to a prisoner release, while the Palestinians dropped their demand for Israel to stop settlement construction before negotiations continue.
But Palestinian and Israeli leaders have disagreed publicly over borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem in a possible two-state solution.
If a deal were to be reached between Israel the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, it is not clear how this would affect the Gaza Strip that is controlled by Hamas, which has rejected the talks.