Kerry meets Netanyahu after talks with Abbas

JERUSALEM (AFP) - United States Secretary of State John Kerry held talks on Saturday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after earlier discussing ways to push a new peace plan with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, US and Israeli sources said.

Public radio said Mr Netanyahu and Mr Kerry will have a first round of private talks and then will be joined by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel's negotiator in talks with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu's personal envoy Yitzhak Molcho and his national security adviser Yaakov Amidror will also attend the second part of the meeting, alongside Kerry's team, the public broadcaster said.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Kerry met Mr Abbas in the Jordanian capital.

"Kerry and Abbas discussed possible steps to revive a new political process for peace," Palestinian ambassador in Amman Attallah Kheiry told AFP.

"Abbas stressed that Israeli settlements endanger the peace process and that Israel should free Palestinian prisoners."

Mr Kerry accompanied Mr Obama on a four-day visit to the region, during which the two met top Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

During his visit, Mr Obama did not bring to a visible breakthrough in the impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians, who have not been engaged in direct talks for over two years.

Mr Kerry will be Mr Obama's new pointman on the Middle East, as part of the renewed US efforts to push the sides back to negotiations.

Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have been deadlocked for more than two years.

Mr Abbas wants to renew peace talks in tandem with a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and in east Jerusalem but the Israelis have been insisting on no preconditions.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.