Israelis and Palestinians in bid to extend peace talks
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