News / Middle East

Kerry Meets With Senior Arab League Officials

Kerry in Jordan for Arab League Talksi
July 17, 2013 10:24 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Jordan for talks with Arab League foreign ministers about the war in Syria and its impact on efforts to restart talks on a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has this report from Amman.
Related video report by Scott Stearns in Amman, Jordan
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has briefed senior Arab League officials and plans another meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the U.S. official continues a push to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The top U.S. diplomat is scheduled to meet with Abbas late Wednesday in Amman, Jordan, their second meeting in two days.

This is Kerry's sixth trip to the region since becoming U.S. secretary of state earlier this year. He has made re-starting the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations - which last collapsed in 2010 - one of his top priorities. He said talks last month with both sides had produced real progress.

Earlier Wednesday, Kerry discussed his efforts with the Arab League chief and representatives of Arab States that support a comprehensive peace plan.   
The discussions also covered the rising tensions in Egypt and the crisis in Syria.

Kerry is weighing a possible visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan before his trip ends. He would be the most senior U.S. official to survey the refugee situation, which has strained host countries like Jordan.

Following the meeting with Kerry on Tuesday, the Palestinian president said he will not negotiate with Israel until it suspends Jewish settlement construction on occupied land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - areas Palestinians claim for an independent state.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday criticized new European Union guidelines that ban the bloc's member states from funding Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

During an emergency ministerial meeting, Netanyahu said Israel will not accept any "external edicts" about its borders. He said decisions about Israel's land can be resolved only through direct talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinian officials welcomed the EU guidelines. They believe a future border with Israel should be based on the lines that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 17, 2013 1:08 PM
Seems the EU is the problem in the Middle East. How can it meddle in the affairs of another country? Taking sides has not helped the matter in the past, as the Arab League has been doing. Is this to say that the whole of Europe stands against Israel? God forbid. But why not since they're mostly atheists. I wanted to point out that the Arab League's intransigent approach to this matter has been the reason of its non-starter status, but adding Europe to it is like giving the so-called peace initiative no chance to succeed. However, whether Europe and the Arab League will do what is right or not, the US initiative should be given a try.

But the Palestinians must agree to live in one place either in West Bank or Gaza. It will be suicidal for Israel to accept such a dangerous occupation to surround its borders on all sides. Whether the peace initiatives work or not, the bottom line will still see Israel and Palestine sitting one on one, face to face, to settle their differences, either to agree or not to agree. And whether there be a settlement or not, both parties will subsist to time immemorial. It is their choice to live in peace or perpetual war. Until such a time as one Arab League member stands up to speak for Israel in their comity, the Palestinians may not see reason to give Israel peace. But whoever sticks out his neck to do that returns to a ravenous welcome at home where the wolves will eat him up before he lands. With this picture, what is the prospect of peace at all in the region?

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