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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jerusalem (AFP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought Friday to promote his security plans for a future Palestinian state, after president Mahmud Abbas rejected an Israeli presence under any deal.

Kerry was in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was accompanied by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, media reported.

Kerry had to amend his plans to travel from Jerusalem to Jordan amid fierce snowfall and rain storms, opting instead to head later straight to his next stop, Vietnam.

“I’m delighted to be here. I’m on my way to Asia, heading to Vietnam and the Philippines, which is a long-promised trip,” Kerry told reporters as he went into his talks with Netanyahu.

“But I wanted to come through here in an effort to try to continue our important discussions.

“It’s been constructive. It’s always complicated. And I look forward to having some good talks this morning after meeting with president Abbas last night. We have a lot to talk about, and we will continue this process.”

After meeting Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian political capital, Abbas rejected U.S. proposals for Israel to keep troops in a future Palestinian state along its strategic border with Jordan.

“President Abbas has rejected the ideas presented by the secretary of state,” a Palestinian source said on Friday.

Abbas also handed Kerry a letter laying down “Palestinian red lines”, the source added, singling out “the refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state”.

Abbas “rejected the ideas on security because there is not a third party.”

This refers to a plan by former U.S. national security adviser James Jones under which a third party would deploy along the Palestinian-Jordanian border.

The Palestinian source said that “all disputed issues must be settled”.

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