February 21, 2013 - 13:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat looks set to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday, Feb 21 afternoon, as the second-term administration of President Barack Obama takes its first baby steps back into the difficult world of Middle East peacemaking, Politico reports.
Erekat is expected to meet Kerry at the State Department at about 3 pm Thursday, according to a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington.
The State Department said in a statement earlier Wednesday that Erekat was expected to meet with U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale and that "other meetings may also be arranged."
The State Department's daily official public schedule of meetings for Thursday, released Wednesday evening, did not list any events with Hale or Erekat. The only specific event on the public roster for Kerry is a 2:45 pm meeting with India's foreign minister. The Obama Administration has been keeping an exceedingly low profile on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace despite - or perhaps because of - Obama's plans to visit Israel and the West Bank in about a month, Politico says.
Kerry said nothing at all about the issue Wednesday in his first major speech as secretary. He departs Sunday on his first foreign trip as secretary. The journey will take him to several Middle Eastern capitals, but he has no plans to stop in Israel or to visit with Palestinian leaders. He is expected to join Obama on his trip to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan beginning March 20.