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April 05, 2014

Israeli Negotiator: Mideast Peace Talks in 'Crisis'

by VOA News

Israel's chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians says the talks are in "crisis," but need to continue.

Tzipi Livni told Israel's Channel 2 TV Saturday that the situation is "very complicated" and "a real crisis." But she said she believes talks should continue and advocated for direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Livni's comments come just one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration is reevaluating its role in the Middle East peace process, following moves by Israel and the Palestinians that have caused the U.S.-brokered talks to collapse.

Kerry said Friday there is a limit to the amount of time and effort the U.S. can invest if both sides are unwilling to take "constructive steps" for peace.

The talks veered off course when Israel did not release a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners on time. The Palestinian leadership then signed application letters seeking accession to more than a dozen international conventions -- which it had promised not to do during talks. And Israel responded by canceling the prisoner release altogether.

Kerry said both sides have made "regrettable" moves in recent days that have endangered the talks.

But sources close to the process said late Friday there will likely be another round of negotiations on Sunday involving U.S., Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Secretary Kerry has spent the past few weeks trying to keep the talks going, with the initial nine-month period that Israel and the Palestinians agreed to last year nearing an end.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.