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Kerry makes new, ambitious Mideast peace push

Monday - 4/8/2013, 5:30pm  ET

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, April, 7, 2013. (AP Photo / Mohamed Torokman)

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry worked Monday to corral Israeli and Palestinian leaders into a new and ambitious peace process that includes reviving parts of a long-dormant plan embraced by the Arab world a decade ago, officials said.

The 2002 initiative that Kerry wants to revive parts of would have provided Israel recognition throughout the Arab world in exchange for a pullout from territory conquered in 1967.

On his third trip to Jerusalem in the last two weeks, Kerry committed himself to a multi-month peace push that could mean numerous follow-up trips to the region. He met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli and Palestinian officials Monday, a day after sitting down for private one-on-one talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

"I am intensely focused on this issue and the region because it is vital really to American interests and regional interests to try and advance the peace process and because this festering absence of peace is used by groups everywhere to recruit and encourage extremism," Kerry told reporters.

"Both sides mistrust each other deeply and there are reasons that mistrust has built up," he added. "I am convinced that we can break that down."

Kerry's foremost goal is to restart direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that have hardly taken place at all over the last 4
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