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Kerry Makes Bid to Jump-start Middle East Peace Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Jordan Wednesday in hopes of jump-starting Middle East peace talks, just as Arab leaders said they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Kerry met with Jordan's King Abdullah after arriving in Amman. He later held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to narrow gaps in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

But at a summit in Kuwait Wednesday, the 22-member Arab League released a statement rejecting any consideration of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Palestinian leaders recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The talks in Amman came ahead of Israel's scheduled release of a fourth round of Palestinian prisoners.



The releases are part of a deal that led the two sides to resume negotiations last year. Israel has not confirmed Friday's release will take place, and Palestinian leaders have threatened to walk away from the peace talks if they do not.

Kerry is also scheduled to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, either by phone or video conference.

The parties involved in the peace talks have not publicly discussed the details of the negotiations, but there has been little visible progress on narrowing gaps on major issues. These include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, borders and security.
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