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Kerry in Paris to Discuss Mideast Peace

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris for talks focusing on the Middle East peace process.

Kerry met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and then held talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Wednesday's meeting are Kerry's latest effort to advance Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, including trying to craft a framework for what an eventual peace agreement would look like.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the negotiations are at an important point, with Washington being engaged with narrowing the gaps between the parties on the framework for negotiations.

Israeli army radio quotes unnamed US officials involved in the talks as saying that Kerry is expected to request that Israel implement a partial freeze on construction of new settlements outside certain West Bank areas.

It says that part of the framework Kerry is working on would allow talks to be extended beyond an April deadline until the end of the year.

The renewed talks have made little progress since the two sides agreed to re-open the process last July after 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.



Kerry traveled to France from Tunisia, where he made a stop Tuesday to praise progress in the country where the Arab Spring began three years ago.

Kerry met in Tunis with President Moncef Marzouki, telling him the United States is "very impressed by the steps that you have been taking, by the rational thoughtful approach to the transition."

Kerry said Tunisia's new constitution, which was ratified in January, can serve as a model for others in the region. He described the document as "rooted in democratic principles -- equality, freedom, security, economic opportunity, and the rule of law."

Tunisia's new constitution sets out to make the country a democracy not based on Islamic law. But some government opponents say the constitution does not do enough to protect women's rights.

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