Report: Kerry to Postpone Mideast Visit

Secretary of State John Kerry, who was to return to Mideast this week to attempt to facilitate peace negotiations, has postponed his visit.

Rina Tzvi ,

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was to return to the region this week to attempt to facilitate negotiations between Israel and that Palestinian Authority, has postponed his visit.

According to Israel HaYom, Kerry had been due to arrive on Tuesday, but put off the visit "to give (Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas) more time" to decide whether to drop his insistence on a freeze on Jewish building before returning to negotiations.

Kerry, who last week warned that time was running out for a possible peace deal, was likely to reschedule his visit for the following week, it said.

Israeli and American officials both refused to comment on the report.

Although the US State Department had not formally announced the trip, a tentative schedule from the office of Israeli President Shimon Peres said the two men would be meeting on Tuesday.

Palestinian Authority officials had announced he would be meeting Abbas on Thursday.

The trip would have been Kerry's fifth visit since he took office in February.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said he and Kerry would try and make progress towards "opening for negotiations with the Palestinians" in another indicator he had been due to visit.

The PA has maintained that it will resume negotiations only if Israel stops building on land it wants for a future state and if the Jewish state agrees to negotiate on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.

Israel has pushed for an immediate return to talks "without preconditions" and said that it will not while publicly freeze building on Jewish lands.