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Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to resume Aug. 14, U.S. says

Reuters

August 8, 2013 | 11:04 am

From left: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

From left: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talk in Jerusalem on Aug. 14, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

"Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians will be resuming Aug. 14 in Jerusalem and will be followed by a meeting in Jericho (in the West Bank)," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing.

The sides held their first peace negotiations in nearly three years in Washington on July 30 in U.S.-mediated efforts to end the conflict of more than six decades.

Psaki said U.S. envoys Martin Indyk and Frank Lowenstein will travel to the region to help facilitate the negotiations.

She signaled that no major breakthroughs were likely at the meeting, saying: "Secretary Kerry does not expect to make any announcements in the aftermath of this round of talks."

The announcement came as Israel said it had given preliminary approval for the construction of more than 800 new homes in Jewish settlements on West Bank land, a move that would complicate peace negotiations.

Psaki said Washington had taken up the issue with the Israelis.

"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and opposes any efforts to legitimize settlement outpost," Psaki said.

"The Secretary has made clear that he believes both the negotiating teams are at the table in good faith and are committed to making progress," she added.

Kerry has said the sides have given themselves about nine months to try to reach an agreement.

The United States is seeking to broker an agreement on a two-state solution, in which Israel would exist peacefully alongside a new Palestinian state created in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The latest direct talks collapsed in late 2010 over Israel's building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Eric Walsh

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