Kerry set to return to roiling Middle East

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By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry returns to the Middle East this week as rising tensions in Egypt and deteriorating conditions in Syria threaten to overshadow his effort to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The State Department says Kerry will depart Washington on Monday for Jordan where he will see Arab League officials to discuss developments in Egypt since the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the crisis in Syria as President Bashar Assad's regime appears to have gained the upper hand against the opposition. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian territories are on Kerry's itinerary although the department says he could meet officials from both sides in Amman.

The trip is Kerry's sixth to the region as secretary of state. Most of his previous visits have focused on the peace process.

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