Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans in bid to ex­tend peace talks

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pales­tinian and Is­raeli ne­go­tia­tors are to meet in an ef­fort to ex­tend peace talks be­yond the 29 April dead­line for a fi­nal deal, US of­fi­cials say.

The US state depart­ment said “a range of is­sues” would be dis­cussed and that both sides re­mained “highly en­gaged”.

“Both par­ties tell us they want ne­go­ti­a­tions to con­tinue,” she added. The di­rect talks, which re­sumed last July, ap­peared on the verge of col­lapse ear­lier this month when both sides took what the US called “un­help­ful steps”. The Pales­tini­ans sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions to join 15 UN treaties and con­ven­tions, while Is­rael re­fused to re­lease a fourth group of 26 long-term Pales­tinian pris­on­ers and reis­sued ten­ders for more than 700 new homes at a Jewish set­tle­ment in oc­cu­pied East Jerusalem.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and US spe­cial en­voy Martin Indyk have been try­ing to per­suade both sides to agree to a “frame­work” ac­cord on core is­sues that would al­low the ne­go­ti­a­tions to con­tinue.

“The par­ties are work­ing right now on an agree­ment to ex­tend the ne­go­ti­a­tions, and that means ex­tend­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions past 29 April,” state depart­ment spokes­woman Jen Psaki told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton.

“There are nat­u­rally a range of is­sues be­ing dis­cussed. There are steps that both par­ties would need to take in or­der to im­prove the con­di­tions for peace but the par­ties re­main highly en­gaged.” BBC

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