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Netanyahu set to meet Kerry in Rome to discuss peace initiatives

Israel’s Prime Minister will fly to Rome on Sunday, where he will meet with the US Secretary of State. It is thought that an upcoming report by the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) and various peace initiatives will be high on the agenda.

In addition to John Kerry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet European Union (EU) foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, before returning to Israel to host United Nations (UN) Secretary general Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem on Monday.

Netanyahu is expected to discuss with them the imminent Quartet report, which is said to be sharply critical of both Israeli settlement building and Palestinian incitement as obstacles to peace. It is thought that Netanyahu will attempt to soften the report before its publication, especially as there have been suggestions that it could form the basis of a UN resolution. Netanyahu spoke this week with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin with the Quartet report thought to have been a major topic of conversation.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Netanyahu and Kerry will discuss some of the peace initiatives currently being touted. Israel maintains that the French-spearheaded multi-lateral plan, which has yet to involve either Israel or the Palestinians, is set to fail, as it will be used as an excuse by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reject direct talks with Israel.

However, Netanyahu and other senior Israeli leaders have recently expressed enthusiasm for a regional peace settlement, along the lines of the Arab peace initiative, which would see a pan-Arab rapprochement with Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state. CNN reports that Kerry will make a last-ditch effort on behalf of the Obama administration to make progress, using the formula of a regional settlement. An unnamed senior US official is quoted saying Kerry will tell Netanyahu “that if there are real things happening on the regional front where Israelis and Arabs are going to meet, we would all be supportive of that.”


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