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Kerry: Israel, Palestinian agree to intensify peace talks
US State Secretary John Kerry announces that Netanyahu, Abbas agreed to intensify negotiations, increase American participation in talks

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to intensify their peace talks with greater participation by the United States, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

 

"We have agreed now, in the last week, when I have met with both (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud) Abbas and (Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, we have agreed now to intensify these talks," Kerry said at the United Nations. "And we have agreed that the American participation should be increased somewhat in order to try to help facilitate (that)."

 

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were resumed in July, after a three-year stalemate in which the Palestinians refused to sit at the negotiation table with a complete settlement construction freeze.

 

Talks were resumed against a background of skeptical remarks on both sides. Violent incidents over recent weeks, including the killings of two IDF soldiers in the West Bank and of Palestinians during IDF arrests, raised tensions even higher.

 

In the course of the agreement to resume the talks the Palestinians abandoned their demand for construction freeze, and Israel agreed to release Palestinian prisoners, including convicted murderers, who already served long sentences in Israeli prisons.

 

The first round of prisoners release was already executed.

 

 

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