Kerry to visit Jerusalem, Ramallah; not bringing new peace plan

Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah next week but does not intend to offer an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Kerry's visit, his third to Jerusalem in less than a month, should not be regarded as the start of a fresh effort at Middle East “shuttle” diplomacy but rather as a chance to see whether the Israelis and Palestinians are themselves ready for peace talks, said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Kerry will leave Washington this weekend for Istanbul, where he will discuss issues including the civil war in neighboring Syria, Nuland said.

On April 8-9 he will visit Jerusalem, where he will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ramallah, where he will see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He will then travel to London for a Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers meeting and then to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo.

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Beech