Kerry heading to Mideast, without clear plan for 2 crises

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(AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Europe and the Middle East, hoping to diffuse the escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence and make headway on Syria’s moribund peace process.

Kerry departs Wednesday. Spokesman John Kirby didn’t outline the specific countries that America’s top diplomat will visit, but says his meetings will include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Kirby also didn’t outline any American plan to end the unrest that erupted a month ago, spurred by tensions over Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site. He is stressing that Kerry wants to restore calm and ultimately restart talks on a two-state agreement.

Efforts are similarly vague in Syria, where the U.S. has failed repeatedly to convince Russia to stop supporting President Bashar Assad’s government.

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