US Secretary of State John Kerry returned on Sunday to Jerusalem after visiting Amman and Riyadh, where he met with key Arab leaders and received their full support for the framework of his “peace plan” between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority.
As he was leaving Riyadh’s airport, Kerry told journalists: “I am grateful that the Arab League, as a whole, and Saudi Arabia individually, will be significantly involved in helping build support for this effort.”
He continued: “Today his majesty [King Abdullah] was not just encouraging, but supported our efforts in the hopes that we can be successful in the days ahead.” Kerry also pointed out that the Saudi’s 2002 peace initiative is part of the framework that he is piecing together.
The late Saudi king had developed a peace initiative in 2002 that was unanimously endorsed by the Arab League, but rejected by then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
“Saudi Arabia’s initiative holds out the prospect that if the parties could arrive at a peaceful resolution, you could instantaneously have peace between the 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations, all of whom have said they will recognise Israel if peace is achieved,” Kerry said.
Kerry is scheduled to meet on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the latest about his peace plan.
Palestinian negotiators have rejected an extension of the peace talks; however, Israeli media are reporting that the negotiations would likely be extended until the end of this year.