Kerry Meets Chief Palestinian Negotiator in Last-minute Effort to Jumpstart Peace Talks

U.S. secretary of state met with Palestinian envoy Saeb Erekat for one hour in Amman; they were expected to go over details of proposal to resume stalled negotiations.

The United States is making last-minute attempts to press both Israel and the Palestinians to return to the bargaining table. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Amman on Friday morning in hopes of pushing the Palestinian Authority toward accepting the American proposal for renewed negotiations. The meeting lasted one hour. 

A Palestinian official said Friday that following his meetings in Amman, Kerry was due to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah at 3 P.M. Friday.  

Kerry is expected return to Washington on Friday afternoon. It is as yet unclear whether he will manage to gain the consensus that would allow him to announce that the stalled talks are set to resume.

During their meeting, Erekat was expected to brief Kerry on the content of the discussions held by the Palestinian leadership overnight Thursday. He was also expected to ask Kerry to clarify details about his proposal, with emphasis on a better definition of a future Palestinian state's borders.

A senior Palestinian official said that during the meetings in Ramallah it became clear that the Palestinians did not feel able to resume negotiations for the time being but were open to further discussions with Kerry. 

Seeking to boost pressure on Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening. Obama urged Netanyahu to continue cooperating with Kerry and "to resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible," the White House said. Over the past three months Obama refrained from interfering in Kerry's efforts in the Mideast.