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Mideast Talks to Resume Monday in Washington

The U.S. State Department says Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet in Washington Monday to discuss plans for resuming peace talks for the first time in three years.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will represent Israel and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat will speak for the Palestinians.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is grateful that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have shown a willingness to make the difficult decisions needed to reach this point.

These revived talks come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overcame strong opposition in his Cabinet to approve a Palestinian prisoner release.

One-hundred four Palestinian prisoners will be freed in four stages. But Livni said it will be carried out only if the Palestinians prove to be a serious partner in the negotiations.



Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Israel must free long-held prisoners in order for negotiations to proceed. Israeli media have said the prisoners include Palestinians convicted of decades-old deadly attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.

The prisoner release drew opposition from ultranationalist ministers who said it would be a reward for "terrorism." Israeli media said Mr. Netanyahu told his ministers the prisoner decision was "difficult" for him and the families of those killed, but also necessary to renew the peace process.

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