By: Elise Labott / CNN
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Israel and Turkey this weekend to try to jumpstart the long-stalled Mideast peace process and build on the two nations’ efforts to repair ties, U.S. and Turkish officials said Wednesday.
Kerry moved up his Monday departure for London and then South Korea, China and Japan in order to capitalize on the reconciliation President Barack Obama brokered between Turkey and Israel during his visit to the region last month, according to the officials, who spoke on anonymity because the trip had not been announced. He will also discuss the crisis in Syria.
Obama scored a diplomatic success during his visit to Israel last month when he persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey for a 2010 commando raid that killed nine activists on a Turkish vessel in a Gaza-bound flotilla.
The apology, long sought by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, eased strained feelings between the two vital U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Kerry’s visit to Israel, the third in as many weeks, is part of what officials expect will be a several-month period in which Kerry tries to move the two sides toward formal peace negotiations. He is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, seeking confidence-building measures from both sides to nudge the parties back to the table.
Read the full story at CNN Security Clearance blog.