In Jordan Meeting, Abbas Urges Kerry to Support Palestinians' International Agenda

International conference on conflict with Israel, UN Security Council bid to condemn settlements among issues raised in Amman.

AFP

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Amman, Jordan on Sunday, to discuss the moves the Palestinians are planning to make in the international arena against the Israeli occupation.  

According to Abbas' spokesman, the Palestinian president urged Kerry to support the Palestinian bid for the UN Security Council to condemn the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as to back the French initiative for an international peace conference. 

Abbas also raised the Palestinian demand for the release of Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist who has been on a hunger strike for the past 88 days in protest against his detention without trial in Israel. The Palestinian president also raised the issue of the bodies of slain Palestinian terrorists, held in Israel. 

Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina didn't give any details about Kerry's response to Abbas' appeal, but noted that the secretary of state said that the American administration is continuing in its efforts to save the two-state solution and to restore stability to the area. 

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement after the meeting that "the Secretary continued to urge for calm and a decrease in violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric." Kerry stressed the U.S. commitment to seeking a sustainable two-state solution and working with all parties to that end. He reiterated the U.S. policy on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements.

Earlier this month, Abbas voiced little optimism about the possibility of U.S. support for the Palestinians' international agenda. In a meeting with Arab journalists in Ramallah, Abbas remarked on the French initiative for an international conference on the conflict, saying that since the U.S. was opposed, it has little chance of materializing. "I don't know if France can stand against the U.S., but efforts are ongoing, vis-à-vis Russia and China, as well as several of the Arab states," he said. A Fatah official told Haaretz that the Palestinians haven't seen any U.S. offer that could materialize into a resumption of talks with Israel. According to the official, the Palestinian leadership isn't expecting much from the last leg of the Obama administration, and is therefore left with no choice but to pursues the international option.  
 
Abbas visit to Amman was the first in a series of visits to eastern Asia,  including Japan, South Korea and Thailand, in attempt to raise support for the international conference.