AMMAN, JORDAN:(APS)Oct 24,2015—Saying there is a desire to “turn the page” on a “very difficult period,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday wrapped up a series of meetings with Middle East officials on the spiraling unrest between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to a VOA report that Kerry said Israel and Jordan had agreed on specific steps to help reduce the violence, including the use of video monitoring at Jerusalem’s most sacred site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.
“This will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency,” he said. “That could really be a game-changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of this holy site.”
He commented during a joint appearance with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Amman before traveling to Riyadh for talks with Saudi officials.
Judeh said the issues in the Middle East were “complex,” but that the parties involved could “overcome what may be perceived as insurmountable difficulties.”
Earlier Saturday, Kerry met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting, also in Jordan, followed a Thursday session in Vienna with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kerry said Netanyahu stressed several points, including that Israel would continue to enforce a long-standing policy on religious worship that acknowledged that “it is Muslims who pray on the Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif, and non-Muslims who visit.” Devout Jews have long prayed at the Western Wall at the foot of the compound.
Kerry said the prime minister also welcomed increased coordination between Israel and Jordan. The Jerusalem holy sites are administered by a Jordanian-appointed Islamic body known as the Waqf.
Further talks will be necessary to arrange details, Kerry said, adding that his special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian issues, Frank Lowenstein, would remain in Jordan for more meetings with senior officials.