Kerry Mideast Visit in Doubt Due to Wife's Health

US Secretary of State John Kerry's return to the Middle East could be postponed due to his wife's illness.

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Rina Tzvi ,

John Kerry
John Kerry
AFP photo

US Secretary of State John Kerry's return to the Middle East to restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority could be postponed due to his wife's illness, a PA official said Tuesday.

Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz Kerry was hospitalized late Sunday with an unknown illness.

The official said on condition of anonymity Kerry had been due to visit, "but because of private family circumstances he could postpone his visit".

According to reports on Sunday, Kerry was set to return to the region at the end of the week.

Kerry could replace the visit with meetings between his team of advisers who stayed in the region and PA and Israeli negotiators, the official told the AFP news agency.

Heinz Kerry's health had improved since she was hospitalized on Sunday, a spokesman for the secretary of state said.

Abbas is pushing Israel to freeze all Jewish building activities and to publicly agree to make the pre-1967 lines as a baseline for peace negotiations.

Netanyahu has called for talks without "preconditions", a reference to PA demands, instead considering "good will gestures" such as the release of prisoners or a partial freeze on Jewish building.

Kerry spent four days in June locked in intensive shuttle diplomacy between the Israeli and Arab leadership in a high-profile bid to draw the two sides back into direct negotiations after a gap of nearly three years.

PA negotiator Saeb Erakat said there had been "no breakthrough", but Kerry has claimed that he had had "very positive" discussions with both sides during his visit.