Israel, Palestine to start peace talks next week

February 25th, 2008 - 1:06 am ICT by admin  

Xinhua
Jerusalem, Feb 24 (Xinhua) Israel and the Palestinian National Authority Sunday set up teams of government experts to jumpstart US-backed peace talks, local daily Ha’aretz reported. “The teams will focus on a range of specific issues, from security to trade and water use, that would form part of any agreement on a Palestinian state,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Arye Mekel was quoted as saying.

Israel’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and her Palestinian counterpart, former prime minister Ahmed Quriea, will continue to deal with the core issues of borders and the future of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

Mekel further said the experts, numbering approximately 10 from each side and drawn from various government ministries, would meet separately from Livni and Qureia.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declined to comment specifically on the teams except saying “we bring whatever experts are needed”.

The negotiations, which US President George W. Bush hopes will yield an agreement on Palestinian statehood before he leaves office next January, have been stalled by a series of disputes, including Jewish settlement activities near Jerusalem.
Xinhua

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