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John Kerry to discuss Israeli apology in Turkey

U.S. 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. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday said that his US counterpart John Kerry will visit Turkey on the upcoming weekend after a need for consultations arose following the latest developments in the region. Speaking at a joint press conference with the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Minister Davutoglu stressed that Kerry and he would exchange views on the steps to be taken in the Middle East peace process.     
 
In response to a question on a dinner he had with the families of the victims of the Israeli raid on the 'Mavi Marmara' aid ship on Tuesday night, Davutoglu said that it was a dinner in which the nine Turks killed by Israel were remembered with respect and one in which the reparations for the families of the victims were discussed in a family atmosphere.     
 
"We opened our hearts at the dinner also attended by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc. It is the martyrs of the 'Mavi Marmara' aid ship to whom we owe this diplomatic development which shook the world," Davutoglu underlined.     
 
Answering a question on the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu said that he invited Kerry to Turkey upon latest developments in the Middle East.     
 
"Mr. Kerry and I will discuss the steps to be taken in the Middle East peace process. We will hold talks on Syria, Iraq and Cyprus on Sunday," Davutoglu 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.
 
"John Kerry will be in north-east Asia, covering Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo between April 12 and 15," Nuland stated.       In response to a question, Victoria Nuland stressed that US President Barack Obama wanted Secretary Kerry to work with Turkey and Israel so that improving relations turned into a complete normalization.

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