Abbas tells Kerry: Pressure Israel on settlement freeze

PA official reports: Abbas also tells Kerry to exert pressure on Netanyahu to release Palestinian prisoners in a Saudi Arabia meeting.



Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Saudi Arabia Monday with US Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed with him the latest developments in the region, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said.

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas – Photo: Marc Israël Sellem

This was the first meeting of its kind since Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

“The meeting focused on efforts to revive the peace process,” said a Palestinian official. “They also discussed President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the region later this month.”

Another PA official said that Abbas requested during the meeting that the US Administration exert pressure on the Israeli government to release scores of Palestinian prisoners and freeze construction in settlements.

The official quoted Abbas as telling Kerry that unless Israel met these two conditions, the PA leadership would not be able to resume the stalled peace talks.

Abbas, according to the official, complained during the meeting about the financial crisis in the PA and called on the US and donor countries to help solve the issue.

Abbas also met during his two-day visit to Riyadh with Saudi Crown-Prince Salman bin Abdel Aziz.


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