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New U.S. Secretary of State to visit Israel: official


09:15, February 04, 2013

JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- John Kerry, the new U.S. Secretary of State, will start his tenure with a visit to Israel in two weeks, CNN news reported citing a U.S. official.

Kerry, who replaced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday, is set to visit the Middle East including a stop in Egypt in mid-February.

The new U.S. Secretary of State said last week that time is " running out" for achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, which could lead, as he said, to "disastrous" consequences.

"We need to find a way forward, and I happen to believe that there is a way forward," Kerry said during the confirmation of his appointment on Tuesday in front of U.S. lawmakers.

If the window on the two-state solution is shut, "we can't be successful...that would be disastrous in my judgment," said Kerry.

Washington hopes that the supposed addition of Yair Lapid's center party to the new Israeli government will promote the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, which came to a halt in 2010 over the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

On Saturday, as Israeli President Shimon Peres appointed incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government following the Jan. 22 election results, Netanyahu said that one of the top issues that his government will tackle is renewing the peace process with the Palestinians.

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