Kerry Pushes For Stronger Ties Between Turkey And Israel

ISTANBUL (April 21, 2013)--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was wrapping up a 24-hour visit to Istanbul Sunday with talks aimed at improving ties between Turkey and Israel and pushing ahead with Mideast peace efforts.

American officials say Kerry would use meetings Sunday with Turkey's foreign minister and the Palestinian president to urge the Turks to make good on pledges to normalize relations with Israel and explore ways to restart peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

President Barack Obama has made both issues foreign policy priorities for his second term.

During a trip to Israel in February, Mr. Obama secured pledges from Turkey and Israel to restore badly strained ties.

Earlier Sunday in Istanbul, Kerry announced that the Obama administration is doubling its non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition to $250 million.

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