Israeli, Palestinian negotiators reportedly set to meet again amid crisis in talks

In meeting with Kerry, Liberman says Israel is "ready to sacrifice a lot" for comprehensive deal with Palestinians.

April 10, 2014 07:28
2 minute read.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni at a press conference, July 30

Livni and Erekat 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)


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Despite the current stalemate in peace talks, Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were due to hold another meeting on Thursday alongside US mediators, Israeli media reported.

"We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators are continuing, and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday night without confirming that a meeting between the sides was scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat, and US mediator Martin Indyk have so far met three times since Sunday.

Amid the crisis in the diplomatic process that emerged last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met on Wednesday night in Washington, and discussed the floundering peace talks among other regional issues.

During a press briefing prior to the meeting, both leaders expressed their mutual appreciation for the bilateral relations between their respective nations along with their desires to advance the deadlocked talks to eventually reach a final-status deal.

"We are working hard to try to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks," Kerry said ahead of the meeting with Liberman.

Liberman said that while Israel ultimately wanted a comprehensive deal, he noted that "any unilateral steps" could only "undermine all our efforts."

However, the foreign minister stated that Israel was "ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal."

The negotiations, which resumed in July, plunged into crisis following what the US deemed a string of "unhelpful" steps.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed all government ministries to limit civilian and economic cooperation with their counterparts from the Palestinian Authority, spurring backlash from the opposition as well as the Palestinians.

A government official said Netanyahu made the order in response to "Palestinian violations of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks."

The order did not include Defense Ministry cooperation with the Palestinians or Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's meetings with Palestinian negotiators.

Netanyahu's order came after Kerry on Tuesday made remarks on the Housing Ministry's announcement of more than 700 new tenders for housing units over the Green Line, which the government in Jerusalem interpreted as blaming Israel for the breakdown in talks.

Israel, demanding a Palestinian commitment to extend talks beyond an April 29 deadline, failed to carry out a promised fourth and final release of 26 Palestinian prisoners set for March 29.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas responded by signing 15 global treaties, on behalf of the State of Palestine, that was followed by waves of.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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