Abbas Presents Kerry With Preconditions for Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -

Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began to find out what Middle East peacemaking is really like on Monday at his first meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas since taking office, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The two met in Saudi Arabia, one of the stops on Kerry’s current regional tour, and they discussed latest developments, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said.

“The meeting focused on efforts to revive the peace process,” said a Palestinian official. “They also discussed President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the region later this month.”

Another PA official said that Abbas requested of Kerry that the U.S. put pressure on Israel to release dozens of Palestinian prisoners and freeze construction in Yehudah and Shomron. They were presented as preconditions to the resumption of peace talks.

Abbas, according to the official, also complained during the meeting about the PA’s financial morass and asked for help in solving the problem.

Abbas also met during his two-day visit to Riyadh with Saudi Crown-Prince Salman bin Abdel Aziz.