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Middle East

Date set for more Israeli-Palestinian talks

Negotiations aimed at ending long-standing conflict to begin on August 14 in Jerusalem, US State Department says.

Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 12:02
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Kerry, centre, has said he does not expect an announcement after the planned round of talks [AP]

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume talks on ending their long-standing conflict on August 14 in Jerusalem, the US State Department has said.

The sides held their first peace negotiations in nearly three years in Washington on July 30 in US-mediated efforts to end the conflict of more than six decades. They agreed to try to resolve their differences within nine months.

Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said that Martin Indyk, the US mediator, would attend the next round of talks, which will be followed by a meeting in Jericho.

She said Secretary of State John Kerry, who hosted July's resumption of the talks, "does not expect to make any announcement in the aftermath of this round of talks".

Our position on settlements has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and oppose any efforts to legitimise settlement outposts

Jen Psaki, US State Department 

After three years of stalemate in the peace process, last month's meeting was hailed as a breakthrough.

Tzipi Livni, Israeli negotiator, and her Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erakat, held two days of face-to-face dialogue in Washington DC and promised to quickly resume talks in their divided region.

The rivals hope to reach an agreement on recognising two states living side by side in peace, across a border roughly based on that of 1967, but many thorny issues remain.

The final status of the city of Jerusalem and of illegal Israeli settlements on  Palestinian territory are expected to be sticking points.

Psaki, the State Department spokesperson, said it had expressed its concern to Israel after reports that it was to authorise the building of a thousand new homes for Jewish settlers on Palestinian land.

Settlement building angers Palestinians, and the peace process has been derailed in the past by disputes over new housing.

"Our position on settlements has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and oppose any efforts to legitimise settlement outposts," she said. 

The latest direct talks collapsed in late 2010 over Israel's building of the settlements in the West Bank.

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Source:
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