Secretary of State John Kerry broke from his travel schedule for the second time in a week to return to the Middle East on Monday to discuss fragile peace talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
The U.S.-brokered negotiations faced a crisis at the weekend when Israel, saying it was seeking a Palestinian commitment to continue negotiations beyond an end of April deadline, failed to press ahead with a promised release of Palestinian prisoners.
"After consulting with his team, Secretary Kerry decided it would be productive to return to the region," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Kerry had interrupted a visit to Rome last week to go to Amman for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Officials said he was expected to travel to both Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Monday.
Direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed last July after a three-year break.
First published March 31 2014, 4:26 AM