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Negotiator: Palestinian-Israeli peace talks to be held in Washington
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09:32, June 29, 2008

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei revealed on Saturday that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are to hold three sessions of bilateral talks in Washington in the coming three months.

Qurei told reporters in Bethlehem that first session of talks between Israel and the Palestinians will be held next month in Washington, without giving a specific date.

He said talks between the two sides reached the stage that both had reached during the talks held in the Egyptian resort of Taba in 2001, adding that "all permanent status issues are still open for negotiations."

U.S. President George W. Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had repeatedly expressed hope that both Israel and the Palestinians would succeed in signing an agreement on the permanent status issues.

Permanent status issues which are still negotiated between the two sides are related to Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees, the Jewish settlements, the border of the Palestinian state, security and water.

So far, the two sides have not reached agreement on any of the issues. They renewed their peace negotiations under the auspices of the United States at Annapolis conference last November.

Qurei refused to describe the peace negotiations with Israel as "absurd talks," adding the U.S. position is still "neutral with extra concerns."

"The peace that our people are looking for is the peace that is able to achieve their hopes and aspirations as well as achieving the ambition of the region's people to live in security and settlement," said Qurei.

Source: Xinhua

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