Kerry, Abbas to Meet in Final Push to Resume Talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in London on Wednesday, a PA official said, weeks after Middle East peace talks collapsed.
"The meeting will discuss a possible resumption of negotiations with Israel," the official told AFP, requesting anonymity. "The meeting could be the last attempt by Kerry to revive negotiations," he added.
Earlier Monday, Kerry's spokeswoman denied there were any plans for the US top diplomat to hold talks with Abbas during a scheduled trip to London this week.
"There's no meeting planned," Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that Kerry would be in London on Thursday for discussions on the conflict in Syria.
Later, however, Psaki made a 180-degree turnaround - confirming the rumored meeting. "While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians," she said.
The White House consistently fosters denial over the collapse of talks, and is still assessing whether to salvage the operation - despite the rumored dismantling of the US negotiating team, the PA's unity pact with Hamas, and Israel's refusal to negotiate with terrorists.
The PA recently stated that it would be open to the idea of reinstating talks - but only under several preconditions.
Last week, Nabil Shaath, a senior PLO official and a close confidant of Abbas, said the PA wants to renew peace talks.
Speaking at a conference of the far-left Meretz party in Tel Aviv, Shaath claimed, "We are interested in renewing the talks." He clarified that "there are topics that are open for negotiations, and they are the core issues, while on the other hand there are topics that are not up for negotiations: the Palestinians' right of self-definition in the 1967 borders, and the right of unity in the Palestinian nation."
Just 24 hours later, Abbas conditioned a return to talks on Israel releasing the fourth batch of terrorist prisoners and freezing construction in Judea and Samaria for three months.
The Israeli public has no desire to resume talks; a poll last week revealed that 68% of the Israeli public supports the death of talks.