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Kerry meets Palestinian negotiator again

Kerry's plans to fly back to Washington might be altered as Palestinian factions debate US proposed framework for peace talks

AFP , Friday 19 Jul 2013
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US Secretary of State John Kerry held a surprise second meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat early Friday as he pressed to put a peace bid back on track before heading home.

After meeting first for 44 minutes, the two men were locked back in talks at 11:20 am (0820 GMT) a State Department official said.

Kerry arrived in Amman on Tuesday for intensive talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Arab leaders, having pressed hard since he took up office in February to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

He even prolonged his visit by a day as the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah debated the US proposals for a framework to guide the relaunch of Middle East peace talks stalled for nearly three years.

After some initial optimism, the plan hit a hurdle when the governing Revolutionary Council of Palestinian of Abbas's own Fatah movement demanded changes late Thursday.

The broader Palestine Liberation Organisation, which also includes leftwing factions less sympathetic towards a compromise, said it was also drawing up a formal response to Kerry's proposals.

Palestinian member of parliament Mustafa Barghuti said after the Ramallah talks on Thursday that "most factions" within the PLO had rejected Kerry's proposal.

Kerry has not met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on this trip, although they have spoken by telephone.

The top US diplomat is planning to return to Washington on Friday, although his travel plans have still not been finalised.

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