US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on the sidelines of economic talks in Egypt on Friday, US officials said.
The talks are likely to focus on the economic crisis facing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and could be a four-way meeting which would also include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a State Department official said.
“We continue to be concerned about the PA,” the official told reporters travelling with Kerry on his plane to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“It’s really part of the continuous, ongoing conversation we’re having with the critical stakeholders here,” the official said Thursday, asking not to be named.
Kerry is due to arrive Friday at the resort to attend an international economic conference, set to burnish Sisi’s global credentials.
Egypt hopes the foreign investor conference will jump-start its battered economy while showcasing international support for Sisi as he battles radical Islamist opponents.
Last month, the US voiced fears that the Palestinian Authority may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls.
In January, Israel suspended $127 million in tax revenues which should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for its move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Palestinians’ membership in the ICC, which takes effect on April 1, sets the scene for potential legal action against Israelis for alleged war crimes, in a move which has infuriated the Jewish state.
Kerry led a bid last year to try to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but his efforts collapsed amid bitter recriminations by both sides.