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However, Israeli officials said last week that they would release about $100 million in withheld tax revenues, a move that Kerry “commended … as an important step” in his conversation with Netanyahu, the State Department said, adding that their discussion also covered Iran and Syria.
In his call to Abbas, Kerry, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his commitment to peace and promised to keep working with Congress to release budget support funds for the Palestinian Authority.
An Abbas aide told Reuters that Kerry told Abbas he was determined to facilitate the restart of stalled peace between the parties and that he hoped to be able to meet him soon, although no time or venue was set.
Nuland said Kerry spoke on Saturday to Israeli President Shimon Peres, who holds a largely ceremonial position. She declined all comment on when Kerry might travel to the region.
“The two men held a lengthy conversation on Saturday night and Peres said that the results of the recent general election could open a window for renewed peace talks,” a Peres spokeswoman said in a statement.
Netanyahu, who has been asked by Peres to form a new coalition, said on Saturday that renewing talks with Abbas would be a top priority for his new government.
“The next government that I will form will be committed to peace. I call on Abut Mazen (Abbas) to return to the negotiating table. Every day that passes without us talking to jointly find a way to create peace for our peoples is a day wasted,” he said.
Separately, the State Department spokeswoman said Kerry spoke on Sunday to Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan. Kerry spoke on Saturday to the foreign ministers of Turkey, Canada and Mexico.