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In Push to Ease Palestinian-Israeli Tensions, Secretary Kerry to Meet With Netanyahu, Abbas

by Reuters /  / Updated 

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PARIS — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday he would meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Germany this week, followed by talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas after more than two weeks of heightened violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is the first time Kerry has confirmed media reports of a meeting with both Netanyahu and Abbas. He did not say where he planned to meet Abbas only that it would be in the Middle East. However, the meeting is widely expected to take place in Jordan.

"Later this week I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu because he will be in Germany...and then I will go to the region, I will meet with President Abbas, I will meet King Abdullah and others," Kerry said during a lunch at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris.

Related: Fear and Violence Reign as Stabbings Continue in Israel, West Bank

While in Europe Kerry said he would also hold meetings on Syria. He has been pressing Russia to agree on a political transition in Syria which would see President Bashar al-Assad hand over power.

His comments came as Israel and the United States resumed talks in Jerusalem on future military aid that Netanyahu suspended in protest against the Iran nuclear deal.

More than 40 Palestinians and seven Israelis have died in the recent street violence in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, triggered in part by Palestinians' anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Israel says it is keeping the status quo at the holy compound, which is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.

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