Kerry wins Arab backing on Mideast peace effort

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry has won Arab League backing for his effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, raising hopes that the stalled negotiations could resume.

Kerry cited significant progress in narrowing gaps between the two sides, but he declined to elaborate.

On his sixth trip to the Middle East in as many months as America’s top diplomat, Kerry met today in Jordan with representatives of the Arab League and nine of its members that support an Arab-Israeli peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia.

In a statement after the meeting, the Arab delegation endorsed Kerry’s initiative, saying his ideas “constitute a good ground and suitable environment for restarting the negotiations.”

Later, Kerry met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the two had a lengthy working dinner.

Kerry has spent hours with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trying to set the stage for a return to peace talks that foundered and collapsed in 2008.

179-a-10-(Secretary of State John Kerry, at joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh)-”the same table”-Secretary of State John Kerry says the Israelis and Palestinians are narrowing gaps that have kept them from restarting talks. (17 Jul 2013)

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181-a-14-(Secretary of State John Kerry, at joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh)-”that it works”-Secretary of State John Kerry says he won’t talk about what exactly stands in the way of restarting talks. (17 Jul 2013)

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178-w-35-(Sagar Meghani (SAH’-gur meh-GAH’-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Secretary of State John Kerry)–The Arab League is backing a U.S. bid to restart Mideast peace talks. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (17 Jul 2013)

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APPHOTO CAI127: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pauses while speaking during a joint press conference with Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, unseen, on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday won Arab League backing for his effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, raising hopes for a quick resumption in the stalled negotiations. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool) (17 Jul 2013)

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