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Mideast peace talks at 'pivotal' juncture, Kerry tells Abbas

Published on Mar 17, 2014 10:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Top US diplomat John Kerry urged Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Sunday to work hard to narrow huge differences with the Israelis at a "pivotal" time for peace talks.

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have been locked in talks the US secretary of state fought hard to launch in July after a three-year hiatus, but as negotiations have faltered, Israel has kicked up more obstacles to a peace deal that would end decades of conflict.

A senior State Department official said Kerry held a "frank and productive discussion" with Abbas ahead of the Palestinian leader's talks with President Barack Obama in the White House Oval Office on Monday.

"The secretary thanked President Abbas for his steadfast leadership and partnership over the past few months and encouraged him to make the tough decisions that will be necessary in the weeks ahead," the official added.

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