Kerry to see Palestinian leader as talks stumble

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, left, answer questions of journalists as they arrive for a meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, March 24, 2014, on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit. (AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, POOL)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, left, answer questions of journalists as they arrive for a meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, March 24, 2014, on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit. (AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, POOL)

ROME (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is interrupting a trip to Europe with President Barack Obama to visit the Mideast for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas aimed at salvaging negotiations with Israel.

The State Department said Kerry would travel from Rome to Amman, Jordan on Wednesday to see Abbas, who visited the White House only last week. Kerry is attempting to convince both Israel and the Palestinians not to abandon the process even if they don’t meet an end-of-April target for a peace plan that they agreed to when talks resumed last summer.

The meeting in Amman comes at a critical time in the peace talks as the Palestinians have threatened to walk away before the target is reached unless Israel releases a batch of prisoners it agreed to by March 29.

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