Top US Diplomat Meets Abbas Amidst Reports of Israeli Compromise

New US Secretary of State John Kerry had a “chance to meet” with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Saudi Arabia on Monday to discuss the peace process, according to a release from the US State Department. Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell called the meeting a “chance to exchange some views” and “a chance for the Secretary to touch base” with Abbas. Ventrell ventured few other details about the discussion.

“You know where we are, that we think that the Middle East peace process is an enormously important issue,” Ventrell was quoted by the State Department as saying about Kerry’s visiting with Abbas. “And so he’s been listening and consulting with the parties, and that’s really all I have for you on that meeting.”

The WAFA Palestinian news agency also covered the Abbas-Kerry talk and also offered few details aside from saying that Abbas discussed with Kerry “the latest developments in the peace process.”

WAFA said Kerry and Abbas held a private meeting in addition to talks between the broader delegations. The meeting was held against the backdrop of President buy viagra new york Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the region later this month.

While few details have been publicly unveiled about the Abbas-Kerry meeting, it comes as the World Tribune reported that Obama wants a detailed plan—including a timetable—for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank as part of the process with the Palestinians. The World Tribune cited unnamed “Israeli sources” for their information.

It remains to be seen what all the new Israeli government will do regarding the Palestinians, although the matter has already garnered some official action. Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni was named to the Palestinian negotiating team as part of the deal that brought her party into the new governing coalition. Livni is a former foreign minister for Israel who headed the last detailed talks with the Palestinians in 2008.

The Palestinians suspended peace talks with the Israelis in late 2010 and have since placed repeated preconditions on the resumption of negotiations. Israel has said the talks should restart without such preconditions.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 6, 2013)