Kerry to visit Jordan to discuss Mideast peace process

Washington, July 16 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry would visit Jordan to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as well as the developments in Egypt and Syria, the State Department said.

In his meetings with Jordanian and Arab League officials scheduled for Wednesday, the top US official "will provide an update on Middle East peace, as he said he would do when he met with the Arab League delegation in Washington just this past April", Xinhua quoted State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying.

During the April meeting, Kerry persuaded the Arab League to renew its 2002 peace initiative, under which the Arab nations offer diplomatic recognition of Israel in return for its complete withdrawal from all occupied territories and a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue.

Kerry will skip Israel and the Palestinian territories in his sixth trip to the region since he took office in February.

When Kerry concluded his last four-day shuttling with both parties in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank in June, the US official spoke of "real progress", and said he believed final status negotiations could be "within reach" with a little more work.

"The secretary would not be going back to the region if he did not feel there was an opportunity to keep taking steps forward in providing an update to representatives of the Arab League," Psaki said.

She said details of the trip were still being finalised, but the latest developments in Syria and Egypt will be discussed as well.

Kerry's deputy William Burns is currently in Egypt for a three-day visit.