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Kerry meeting with Palestinian and Jordanian leaders in Egypt

The talks are likely to focus on the economic crisis facing the Palestinian Authority after Israel's withholding of $127 million in tax revenue
The US has voiced fears that the Palestinian Authority may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls (AFP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II on the sidelines of economic talks in Egypt on Friday, US officials said.

The talks are likely to focus on the economic crisis facing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and could be a four-way meeting which would also include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a State Department official said.

"We continue to be concerned about the PA," the official told reporters travelling with Kerry on his plane to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"It’s really part of the continuous, ongoing conversation we’re having with the critical stakeholders here," the official said Thursday, asking not to be named.

Kerry is due to arrive Friday at the resort to attend an international economic conference, set to burnish Sisi's global credentials.

Egypt hopes the foreign investor conference will jump-start its battered economy while showcasing international support for Sisi as he battles radical Islamist opponents.

Last month, the US voiced fears that the Palestinian Authority may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls.

In January, Israel suspended $127 million in tax revenues which should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for its move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Palestinians' membership in the ICC, which takes effect on 1 April, sets the scene for potential legal action against Israel for alleged war crimes, in a move which has infuriated the Jewish state.

Investigations are already underway to determine whether war crimes were committed in Israel’s offensive, Operation Protective Edge, which claimed the lives of nearly two thousand Palestinians in the Gaza Strip last summer.

The United States, which is not a member of the ICC questioned the ICC’s decision to welcome Palestinian involvement. "The United States does not believe that the state of Palestine qualifies as a sovereign state and does not recognise it as such and does not believe that it is eligible to accede to the Rome statute," said US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, last January.

Kerry led a bid last year to try to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but his efforts collapsed amid bitter recriminations by both sides.