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Kerry may meet Israeli PM Saturday after Obama trip

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to return to Jerusalem on Saturday to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a visit by US President Barack Obama, a US official confirmed.

"Secretary Kerry will likely meet PM Netanyahu on Saturday to review the results of the president's visit following his stops in Ramallah and Amman," the State Department official said in statement to AFP.

The two men were set to meet in Jerusalem "to discuss next steps on the key issues," the official added, asking to remain anonymous.

Obama on Wednesday arrived in Israel for his first visit as president, vowing an "eternal" alliance with the Jewish state as it faces Iran's nuclear threat and perilous change in the Middle East.

Kerry is already in Israel, having arrived on Tuesday to join up with the US president and accompany him on further stops to meet with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, on the West Bank, and Amman, Jordan.

The top US diplomat has said he is interested in exploring ways to revive the Middle East peace process which has stalled since the last US initiative collapsed in late 2010.

But officials have downplayed expectations for Obama's long-awaited visit, and there are few hopes his arrival will overcome the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said Tuesday that "Kerry wants to hear Netanyahu and... president Mahmud Abbas express their willingness to participate and say what measures they are willing to take to move forward.

"In particular, Kerry is interested in what Netanyahu is able to do, considering that the majority of his new coalition is against any political compromise and opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130320/kerry-may-meet-israeli-pm-saturday-after-obama-trip