Israeli-Palestinian accord possible in next 9 months, Kerry

Israeli steps expected to improve Palestinian living conditions

30 July, 20:10

    (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, JULY 30 - A final agreement between Israelis and Palestinians may be reached in the next nine months, Secretary of State John Kerry said at the end of Tuesday's meeting in Washington.

    The negotiators of the two sides involved - Israeli minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat - also met U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House as well, and the meeting was ''very positive'', said the U.S. Secretary of State. Kerry said that Israel is willing to take concrete steps forward in the coming days to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the occupied territories, in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The U.S. head of diplomacy was speaking on the sidelines of the latest round of talks that got underway Tuesday in Washington. The Israeli and Palestinian delegations, he added, will meet again within the next two weeks, either in Israel or in the Palestinian Territories. The Quartet for the Middle East (EU, US, Russia and UN) has said that it is ''determined to give effective support'' to the ''shared commitment'' of Israelis and Palestinians ''to achieve a negotiated two-state solution within the next nine months''.

    The Quartet went on to call on all parties involved to do everything in their power to make the talks a success.

    After a three-year stalemate and inflexible positions taken by both sides, Israelis and Palestinians are therefore once again to resume direct talks: talks which would lead to a peace accord sought for decades that is, in the eyes of President Obama (who has played a substantial role as mediator in the latest phase), ''possible and necessary'', and which can no longer be postponed. The deadlock was broken by the Israeli government's decision on Monday to release 104 Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons for over 20 years for violent crimes. (ANSAmed).

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