Palestinian-Israeli peace meeting postponed

By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

AL-QUDS – A planned Wednesday meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams has been postponed to await the arrival of U.S. special envoy Martin Indyk, reliable Palestinian sources said.

"There is nothing that necessitates holding the meeting without Indyk; when he returns to the region, a new date will be set," one of the sources, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency.

According to the sources, Indyk is expected to return to the region on Thursday after failing to come on Tuesday as planned earlier.

The planned meeting is expected to be attended by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat, head of Palestinian intelligence Maged Farag, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – who heads up Israel's negotiation team – and Yitzhak Molcho, representing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that the planned meeting, the latest in a series of talks that have brought Palestinian and Israeli negotiators together over the past two weeks, would attempt to extend peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline.

Prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians appeared to crumble late last month after Israel refused to release 26 Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

In retaliation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. agencies and conventions.

U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed in Washington last summer after a nearly three-year hiatus. They are scheduled to end on April 29.

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