Abbas to meet Kerry over peace process
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Wednesday to discuss recent developments of the Middle East peace process, a Palestinian official said on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
Kerry will possibly ask Abbas to extend the ongoing U.S.- mediated peace talks which are set to end in late April, the official said. They will also discuss the issue of 26 Palestinian prisoners who are supposed to be freed from Israeli prisons late this month. Israel currently refuses to release them.
Since the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations resumed last July, Israel has agreed to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners, of whom 78 have already been freed.
However, Israel said it will not release the remaining 26 prisoners until the Palestinians accept to extend the peace negations.
The Palestinians reject to link the prisoners' release with the extension of the peace negotiations, threatening to approach international organizations to sue Israel for not meeting its commitments.
Since the resumption of the peace negotiations, Kerry has been leading mediation efforts to get the Palestinians and the Israelis to agree on a framework plan for peace. But peace talks have not witnessed any progress as grave differences on core issues continue to drive a wedge between the two sides.