US Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Israel and the Palestinian territories for peace talks next week, the State Department said on Sunday.

Kerry will travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday for more talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, resuming his intensive shuttle diplomacy after a Christmas break.

"In these meetings, he will discuss the ongoing final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, among other issues," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The United States is seeking to broker an agreement on a "two-state solution" in which Israel would exist alongside a new Palestinian state.

Kerry wants the sides to agree to a framework for an interim accord ahead of a deal in April, which would launch another year of talks aimed at a full-blown peace treaty.

During his last visit to the region on December 13, Kerry said both sides remained committed to peace talks and were on course to wrap up an interim deal in April.  

A previous round of negotiations in 2010 broke down in a dispute over settlement construction, and peace talks have shown
little sign of progress since their revival this year.

Source: Agencies