The US' new Secretary of State John Kerry marked his first weekend in office by calling various foreign officials, among them President Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
in attempt to promote the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
According to the State Department, Kerry spoke with Netanyahu about the formation of Israel's new government and recent developments in Iran and Syria.
The Secretary of State told Netanyhau that he and President Barack Obama
were both committed to Israel's security and to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
He commended Israel's decision to release tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority as an important step. The two pledged to work together closely during Kerry's term.
Kerry also stressed his personal commitment and hope for continued efforts to pursue peace between Israel and the Palestinians in his coversation with Abbas, and pledged to continue efforts with Congress to secure financial aid for the PA.
Kerry also told the Palestinian president that President Obama "is very interested in the peace process and aware of the economic hardships of the Palestinian people," Abbas spokesman Nabel Abu Rdeneh said.
The State Department said Kerry spoke with President Shimon Peres on Saturday about the formation of Israel's new government, and that the two "exchanged views" on the peace process and regional matters.
Kerry was sworn in Friday afternoon, succeeding Hillary Clinton in Obama's Cabinet. In the Senate hearing to confirm his nomination, he expressed his intent to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the near future, as well as his conviction in regards to reigniting the peace process. The new US Secretary of State further referred to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as key for resolving other conflicts in the region.
Elior Levy and AP contributed to this report
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