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'Serious discussions' begin on Mideast peace

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'Serious discussions' begin on Mideast peace


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have held “serious discussions” on the issues to be resolved for a peace deal.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell told reporters in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that the two men held direct talks for an hour and a half.

“Today, the parties have begun a serious discussion on core issues. The parties agree that for these negotiations to succeed they must be kept strictly confidential, and treated with the upmost sensitivity,” the former senator said.

The direct talks come amid the forthcoming expiry at the end of the month of a freeze on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.

The Palestinians have threatened to walk away from the negotiations if the freeze is not extended

Other issues to be addressed include the borders of a future Palestinian state, Israel’s security and the status of Jerusalem.

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