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Israel, Palestinians hold first talks for six months

RIA Novosti

17:58 02/09/2009 TEL AVIV, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli and Palestinian ministers held on Wednesday their first talks since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in March, the Kol Israel radio station reported.

The meeting between Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom and Palestinian Economy Minister Bassem Khoury took place in Jerusalem.

The ministers discussed a range of economic issues, including the elimination of military and administrative barriers to Palestinian economic development, and the establishment of common Israeli-Palestinian industrial zones, the radio station reported.

Political issues were not touched upon in the talks, Khoury was quoted by Reuters as saying

"We hope that away from politics, we will be able to do something on the ground to improve the economic realities of Palestine," he said.

Palestinian authorities have refused to hold peace talks with Israel until it freezes settlement construction in the West Bank.


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