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Kerry: Coming weeks critical to peace process

JTA

June 27, 2013 | 6:47 am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves to members of the media as he is greeted by Jordan's Director of the Political Directorate and the Royal Hashemite Court Manar Dabbas (left) at Al Hummar Palace in Amman, where Kerry is to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah (not pictured), June 27. Photo by REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves to members of the media as he is greeted by Jordan's Director of the Political Directorate and the Royal Hashemite Court Manar Dabbas (left) at Al Hummar Palace in Amman, where Kerry is to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah (not pictured), June 27. Photo by REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The coming weeks could decide the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, John Kerry said during a tour of Arab states on his way to attempt to broker new peace talks.

“We share a belief with Saudi Arabia and many countries that these next weeks are perhaps – or at least this next period of time is an important period of time where decisions could be made that could affect this region for years to come,” the U.S.  secretary of state said June 25 in Jeddah, where he met with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The Saudi foreign minister backed the efforts of Kerry, who is due this week in Jordan and Israel, where he will meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Saud reiterated his country’s commitment to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a return to 1967 borders in exchange for comprehensive peace, although he did not explicitly endorse a recent suggestion by Qatar that this incorporate “minor land swaps.”

In Kuwait on Wednesday, meeting with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kerry said he wanted to see progress before September.

“Time is the enemy of a peace process,” he said. “Time allows situations on the ground to change and/or to harden, or to be misinterpreted. The passage of time allows a vacuum to be filled by people who don’t want things to happen.”

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