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Kerry, Abbas discuss 'new' peace efforts: envoy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israeli settlements "endanger" peace efforts, at a meeting in the Jordanian capital to discuss a "new" peace push, the Palestinian ambassador said.

"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."

The two sides, Kheiry said, "evaluated US President Barack Obama's visit to the Palestinian territories."

During his four-day visit to the region, Obama, met top Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah, but there was no visible breakthrough in the impasse between the two sides.

Kerry, who accompanied Obama, was to hold a separate meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the evening.

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

Israel and the Palestinians have not had direct talks for over two years.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130323/kerry-abbas-discuss-new-peace-efforts-envoy