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Kerry urges Israel to ‘look hard’ at Arab peace initiative

July 17, 2013 | 8:28 am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks near Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman on July 17. Photo by REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks near Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman on July 17. Photo by REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israel on Thursday to consider carefully a 2002 Arab League peace initiative that it rejected in the past.

"Israel needs to look hard at this initiative, which promises Israel peace with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations - a total of 57 nations that are standing and waiting for the possibility of making peace with Israel," he said in Amman, where he met officials from Arab League member countries.

The plan, put forward by Saudi Arabia at an Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002, offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees. Softening the plan three months ago, a top Qatari official raised the possibility of land swaps in setting future Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Dan Williams

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