The meeting with Abbas is part of ongoing conversations Kerry is having with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The one-on-one meetings are designed to be a confidential way that lets Kerry get a sense of where each stands on various negotiating issues, define their bottom lines and to get an idea of how it might be possible to bridge the gaps between them.
Kerry also was supposed to meet with Netanyahu in Rome on this trip, but the Israeli leader decided that with the instability in Syria, it was best to stay home. The senior official said a three-way meeting was never planned because that would be premature, and that Kerry and Netanyahu would meet soon.
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