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Palestinian-Israeli talks to continue beyond April 29 deadline

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his government's readiness to extend peace talks by an additional nine months to discuss core issues, informed Palestinian and Israeli sources said yesterday.


Palestinian sources said that US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the issue with the US Peace Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk. They discussed how both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides would announce the extension with "the lowest costs and without surprises".

In addition, the Palestinian sources said the meeting between the Palestinian and Israeli peace teams that should have been held yesterday was cancelled.

Abbas met a delegation from the Left-wing Israeli Ministers of the Knesset and discussed the situation of the peace talks with them. He expressed his willingness to extend the talks on the condition that they focus on the core issue; the arrangement of the permanent Palestinian-Israeli borders.

Despite the stalemate that faced the peace talks, the US administration expected the talks to continue beyond the April 29 deadline.

Commenting on the issue, spokeswoman of the US Department of State Jennifer Psaki said: "A number of issues are being discussed by both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides. There are certain steps that both sides have to carry out in order to improve chances to reach peace."

She added: "Both sides say that they are willing to continue peace talks and they are discussing how to do that." She hinted to a US role in trying to bring the two sides together.

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