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Kerry Meets Abbas for 2 Hours, Visits Peres

US Secretary of State admitted there was skepticism and cynicism about attempts to reach accord.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/23/2013, 9:50 PM

Kerry with Peres
Kerry with Peres
Israel news photo: Flash 90

US Secretary of State John Kerry went straight into talks with met Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas Thursday immediately after talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He then returned to Jerusalem and met with President Shimon Peres. He will have breakfast Friday with Netanyahu.

"I know this region well enough to know there is skepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism and there are reasons for it. There have been bitter years of disappointment," Kerry said after meeting Netanyahu for two and a half hours. 

But he insisted: "It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities for peace."

Kerry then went to Ramallah to meet with Abbas -- also for more than two hours. 

The US diplomat "provided a detailed update on ideas to strengthen the Palestinian economy the Quartet has been working on with members of the private sector," a State Department official said, asking not to be named.

Kerry also went for a stroll along a Ramallah street, stopped at the popular Samer's restaurant for a turkey shawarma sandwich, and then walked across the street to the restaurant's sweet shop to sample traditional Arab sweetmeats and some Arabic coffee.