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July 29, 2013

Israelis, Palestinians Return to Talks After Long Hiatus

by Suzanne Presto

Israelis and Palestinians are resuming direct talks after a three year lapse, with initial meetings in Washington to discuss plans to move forward.

Secretary of State John Kerry has engaged in shuttle diplomacy this year, meeting with both sides in an attempt to bring them back to the negotiating table.

Kerry spoke ahead of the talks Monday.

"I would also like to recognize the important contributions of senior negotiators on both sides, particularly Minister Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, both of whom really stood up and stood strong in the face of very tough criticism at home and whose unwavering commitment made the launch of these talks possible. I look forward to beginning work with them tonight," said Kerry.

Two days of preliminary discussions begin this evening, and Kerry said it's important to keep the contents private. He will host Israeli and Palestinian negotiators for an Iftar dinner on Monday night, when Muslims who observe Ramadan break their fast.