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Kerry: Israel-PA Deal Will be 'Fair and Balanced'

US Secretary of State continues Middle East tour, pushing PA-Israel peace deal to Israel's neighbors.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 1/5/2014, 11:39 AM

John Kerry with Prime Minister Netanyahu before leaving for Jordan
John Kerry with Prime Minister Netanyahu before leaving for Jordan
Flash 90

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan on Sunday as part of a regional tour to seek support for a Middle East peace plan he said would be "fair and balanced," AFP reports.

On the fourth day of his tour, Kerry was to hold talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II before heading on to Saudi Arabia to consult with its ruler on his
bid for a framework agreement for a Middle East peace deal.

"I can guarantee all parties that President (Barack) Obama and I are committed to putting forward ideas that are fair and balanced, and to improving the security of all peoples," Kerry told reporters in Jerusalem Sunday before leaving for Amman.

He insisted Saturday that there had been "progress" in the talks that he kick-started in July, despite bitter recriminations by both sides and mostly
irreconcilable demands for any future peace deal.

Kerry's visits to Jordan and Saudi Arabia come after three days of intense shuttle diplomacy between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Jordan is one of only two Arab countries, with Egypt, to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, and King Abdullah II holds a special position because the treaty recognizes his country's "historic" role in caring for Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Saudi King Abdullah also plays a key role, as the kingdom was the author of a 2002 Arab League peace initiative.

The news follows reports Friday that one of King Abdullah II's closest advisors has demanded a Jordanian presence in talks. 

"Jordan needs to be present and involved in all future negotiations," stated former Prime Minister Marouf al-Bahit. He is currently the deputy head of the King's Council, an advisory board closest to the monarch.

"It is unthinkable that Jordan should sit on the side, as an observer. Jordan should join the negotiating table immediately - since it is bound to be the one paying the price of the Israeli and American positions."