Kerry and Abbas to discuss 'two-state solution'

Secretary of State to meet PA chairman Abbas in Paris to discuss stalled peace process.

Elad Benari ,

Abbas and Kerry (archive)
Abbas and Kerry (archive)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Paris on Saturday to discuss progress toward a two-state solution, the State Department said Thursday, according to AFP.

"The secretary is not looking at trying to make progress based on a fixed date on the calendar," spokesman John Kirby was quoted as having told reporters.

Instead, Kerry will speak with "Abbas about prospects for a two-state solution, and trying to make meaningful progress to create the conditions...where that solution can be more successfully pursued," Kirby explained.

Kerry will travel to Paris late Friday before returning on Sunday. He may also meet with other leaders for bilateral discussions, although Kirby gave no further details on the matter.

"This is something he has been focused on since he has been the secretary of state, and will remain so for, I can assure you, the entire time that he's in office," Kirby said.

"You've seen the travel that he has made to the region. This remains an area of prime focus for him."

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been frozen for two years, with hopes that it could be revived before the end of President Barack Obama's administration now mostly dashed.

In fact, Obama himself several months ago expressed pessimism over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being resolved during his tenure.

Contrary to Obama, Kerry has remained optimistic and said the United States would push for a two-state peace deal until the end of Obama's mandate.

Kerry and Abbas's meeting will come amid renewed global efforts to renew the stalled peace process.

France is now at the center of a push to convince the sides to restart talks, having in June convened a Paris meeting of world powers – without Israel or the Palestinians – to work toward organizing an international conference to reboot talks by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has dismissed the French initiative entirely, saying he only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA.

Abbas, for his part, has welcomed the move and just recently urged the African Union member states and its officials to support it.