Kerry urges return 'to basics' on holy sites

2015-10-20 20:26


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Washington - US Secretary of State John Kerry says he will engage Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the "basics" of administering Jerusalem's holy sites to try to calm tempers in the city.

Kerry is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah separately in coming days for talks on the latest round of violence.

On the agenda will be the administration of the Haram al-Sharif and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, holy sites that have been a flashpoint in the recurrent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters.

"We could meet if we chose to but I think that meeting together in the same country...this is not the moment, obviously," Kerry said, at a green investment forum in Washington on Tuesday.

"But I will be meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu either in Germany or in the region. I will be meeting President Abbas. I'll be meeting King Abdullah and others," he said.

The State Department has not finalised Kerry's travel plans for the week, but reports have suggested he could meet Netanyahu in Berlin then continue to Amman for talks with Abbas and King Abdullah.

"We will go back to some very basics here with respect to what the expectations are with the administration of the Haram al-Sharif and the Temple Mount and hopefully open up enough political space to begin to move on some other areas," he said.

Kerry did not go into detail about how he would like to see the holy sites, which are revered by both Muslims and Jews, administered.

Read more on:    us  |  middle east peace

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