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Israeli-Palestinian Talks to Resume After 3-Year Break

RIA Novosti

01:34 29/07/2013 MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - Direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians will resume in Washington on Monday, after a pause of almost three years, the US Department of State said in a statement.

“Initial meetings are planned for the evening of Monday July 29 and Tuesday July 30, 2013,” Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The announcement was made after US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with PNA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

The Israeli delegation to the talks will be led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and prime minister's emissary Yitzhak Molcho. The Palestinian side will be represented by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and top Fatah party official Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Kerry announced on July 19 in Amman, Jordan, that the Israelis and Palestinians had reached agreement on the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations.

“The meetings in Washington will mark the beginning of these talks. They will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural workplan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months,” Psaki said.

The Palestinian-Israeli talks stalled in September 2010 over disagreements on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestinians said they would not resume negotiations unless the construction stopped.

The Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and want Israel to pull out from the Palestinian territories occupied after the 1967 war.

Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to raise the issue of Jerusalem, which it says is the indivisible capital of the Jewish state.

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