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Israel FM to hold US talks hot on heels of Kerry visit

Dec. 3, 2013 1:16 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 3, 2013 6:53 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's foreign minister is to hold Washington talks with John Kerry later this week hot on the heels of a new visit to the region by the US diplomat, an Israeli official said Tuesday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will also meet UN chief Ban Ki-Moon and address the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, his deputy Zeev Elkin told public radio.

Lieberman's meetings will come straight after a new visit to the region by Kerry for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, which is to start on Wednesday, according to Israeli media.

The talks come amid intense Israeli lobbying for a tougher position from Washington in talks between major powers and Iran on its controversial nuclear program which were buoyed by a landmark interim deal last month.

It will be Kerry's eighth overnight visit to the region since he took office in February as he seeks to salvage faltering Middle East peace talks which he invested heavily to relaunch in late July.

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