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John Kerry Cancels Meeting With Palestinian President

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Secretary of State John Kerry pauses as he delivers a speech on climate change on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Climate change may be the world's "most fearsome" weapon of mass destruction and urgent global action is needed to combat it, Kerry said on Sunday, comparing those who deny its existence or question its causes to people who insist the Earth is flat. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, Pool) AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, Pool

BRUSSELS (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it is "completely premature" to write off the Israeli-Palestinian peace process even as negotiations were dealt a blow by a speech in which the Palestinian leader said he would press for U.N. recognition over Israel's strong objections.

A senior U.S. official said Kerry had called off plans to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Wednesday. But Kerry told reporters at NATO headquarters on Tuesday that he and his team remained in contact with both sides. He maintained that the two parties are committed to reaching a peace deal and called on them to exercise restraint during a difficult period

Kerry spoke shortly after Abbas said he would resume a bid for further Palestinian recognition by the United Nations.

Abbas' decision, meanwhile, also threw into doubt claims that a deal was emerging that would have extended Israel-Palestinian talks beyond an April 29 deadline and included the release of imprisoned American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard.

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