Kerry says he will attend Mideast peace meeting in France

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2016 12:48 PM
Kerry says he will attend Mideast peace meeting in France

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he will attend an upcoming French-hosted meeting of foreign ministers aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Kerry said he told French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that he would participate in the event on June 3 despite Israeli opposition to the plan, which would also involve a larger international conference on the Middle East this summer.

Kerry had been coy about attending the meeting and his comments were the first confirmation that he would go. He said restarting the peace process or at least keeping a path open to doing so remained a priority for the United States and others.

"I certainly intend to be helpful and cooperative in a cooperative way that makes sense with the parties in order to encourage them to come to the table," Kerry said. "I will work with the French, I will work with the Egyptians, I will work with the Arab community, I will work with the global community in good faith in an effort to see if we can find a way to help the parties see their way to come back and ultimately see their way to a final status agreement that meets the needs of the parties, the needs of the region and provides for peace and stability."

"It's an enormously high priority and President Obama is committed to it and so am I," he added.

The French had initially proposed the meeting for May 30, the Memorial Day holiday in the United States, but agreed to delay it to allow Kerry to attend.