No breakthrough after 3rd Palestinian-Israeli meeting
By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout, Tuesday, April 08, 2014
AL-QUDS – Palestinian and Israeli negotiators held late Monday their third meeting in a week to iron out their difference with no breakthrough reported.
The meeting was sponsored by U.S. envoy Martin S. Indyk.
It brought together top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, intelligence chief Maged Farag, top Israeli negotiator and justice minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanya's envoy Isaac Molho.
"At the request of the parties, the U.S. facilitated a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators last night to continue the intensive effort to resolve their differences," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
"Gaps remain but both sides are committed to narrow the gaps," she added.
Palestinian sources said that during the U.S.-sponsored meetings the Palestinian negotiators always raise the issues of releasing Palestinian detainees and stopping Israeli settlement building in the occupied Palestinian lands.
The Israelis, for their party, demand an extension for the peace talks – initially scheduled to end on April 29 - and that the Palestinian Authority backpedal on its plan to join international conventions, added the sources.
The third meeting came one day before a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the developments of the peace talks.
Kerry said Friday that his administration planned to reevaluate its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying both sides had recently taken unhelpful steps.
U.S.-sponsored peace talks hit a snag last week over Israel's refusal to release a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
In response, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. agencies and conventions.
Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed in Washington last summer after a nearly three-year hiatus.
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