Gaza, ALRAY - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris on Wednesday to persuade him to respond positively toKerry’s framework agreement which the basis for continued Israeli-Palestinian talks, Haaretz newspaper reported.
The meeting with Abbas wasn’t originally on Kerry’s schedule. The secretary of state just ended a visit to Southeast Asia, and on Monday, he arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, for a round of talks there.
The State Department and senior Palestinian officials announced the unscheduled meeting Monday evening.
Kerry’s meeting with Abbas will start afeter weeks in which the two maintained telephone contact only. The secretary of state hasn’t visited the region for some time now aiming to avoid raising expectations and political pressure and allow the framework agreement to be finalized in as calm an atmosphere as possible.
But U.S. envoy Martin Indyk has held talks about the document with both Palestinians and Israelis in recent weeks, while Kerry himself met with both parties’ negotiating teams in Washington, as well as at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month.
Kerry’s meeting with Abbas will take place about two weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Washington, which will include a White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. The Americans, who are interested in finalizing the framework agreement by the end of March, are thus putting last-minute pressure on both leaders to agree to continue negotiating on the basis of the American document.