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Abbas to meet Kerry in Saudi Arabia, official says

March 4, 2013 12:12 P.M. (Updated: March 5, 2013 8:48 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia on Monday, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Abbas and the US secretary of state will discuss requirements to launch peace negotiations, PA ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jamal Shoubaki said, official news agency Wafa reported.

Shoubaki told Voice of Palestine radio that Kerry had planned to visit Abbas in Ramallah but was forced to cancel a trip to the area, apparently because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet formed a government.

The meeting with Kerry was agreed during recent talks in Washington between Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat, Muhammad Shtayyeh and US officials.

Abbas arrived in Riyadh late Sunday and will meet with senior Saudi officials, Wafa said.

Kerry is currently on a maiden 11-day international trip, which saw him meet with Egypt's President Mursi on Sunday.

President Obama is due to visit the region in late March, although last week Kerry played down suggestions that the president would bring a peace initiative with him.

Obama, who has a testy relationship with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made peace between Israelis and Palestinians a priority in his first term but, four years later, has little to show for it.
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