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Kerry, Abbas, to Meet Sunday

US-led "peace" push focusing on the Palestinian Authority's economy steps up.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/20/2013, 10:55 PM

Kerry and Abbas
Kerry and Abbas
AFP photo

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul on Sunday, the State Department said, as a US-led "peace" push focusing on the PA's economy steps up.

Kerry and Abbas, who have met several times recently, will "continue the conversation that they've been having for several weeks now about how to get both sides back to the table," a State Department official said, according to AFP.

Kerry warned Wednesday that time was slipping away to reach a peace deal between Israel and the PA, stressing for the first time that there may only be a year or two left.

The top US diplomat is working on a plan to try to boost the PA economy as part of efforts to restore trust between the two sides. The plan will be discussed in the talks with Abbas, the State Department official said.

Abbas was visiting Turkey on Saturday and Sunday for talks with top officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sparked concern by announcing his intention to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza next month, after a trip to the United States.

Abbas's Ramallah-based nationalist Fatah movement, a long-time rival to the Islamist Hamas, has criticized Erdogan's Gaza trip as fostering intra-Palestinian Authority divisions.

Kerry, in Istanbul on Saturday for a meeting of core members of the "Friends of Syria" group backing the Syrian opposition, was also due to meet Erdogan on Sunday.