Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry next week in Rome “to discuss ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians, along with Iran, Syria and other issues of mutual concern,” the State Department announced this afternoon.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is apparently not on Kerry’s schedule but the secretary will be meeting in Paris with representatives of the Arab League’s Arab Peace Initiative Follow-up Committee to update them on Israeli-Palestinian talks.
He will also have a separate meeting there with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. The Saudis and Israelis share a deep concern about the nuclear talks with Iran and are highly skeptical about Tehran’s intentions. Look for Faisal and Netanyahu to emphasize in their separate meetings similar worries and to seek assurances that Washington will keep up the pressure and sanctions on Iran and not take the military option off the table – and to make sure America’s allies don’t get wobbly knees.
In London, Kerry will meet with international partners and the Syrian Coalition leadership to review progress towards convening a Geneva Conference on Syria.