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Kerry in Jordan for talks on Middle East peace

Source: Reuters - Fri, 7 Mar 2014 13:53 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Updates after talks)

AQABA, Jordan, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Jordan's King Abdullah on Friday for talks about a framework for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of next month.

Kerry held two hours of talks with the monarch during an unscheduled visit to Jordan's Red Sea resort of Aqaba after leaving Rome, where he attended a conference on Libya and held meetings on the crisis in Ukraine.

Kerry was accompanied on the flight from Italy by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. There was no immediate comment from Jordanian officials about the meeting.

Kerry is aiming to win agreement by late April between Israel and the Palestinians on a framework for a peace deal, although he has said a final accord could take another nine months or more.

While U.S. officials have declined to say what might go into such a framework, it appears likely to be an outline of possible outcomes on the core issues of borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Washington this week he wanted an accord, but he put the onus on Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state - something they have long refused to do.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says continued Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is undermining any chance of a deal to create a Palestinian state. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Larry King)

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