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Kerry: Israel, Palestinians 'steadfast' on peace talks

Sept. 8, 2013 6:39 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 9, 2013 9:48 P.M.)
PARIS (AFP) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Israel and the Palestinians are determined to push forward with peace talks.

"Despite tough decisions that have to be made and despite pressure that exists on both sides... both the Palestinians and Israelis have remained steadfast in their commitment to continuing the talks," Kerry said in Paris after a meeting with Arab League officials.

Ahead of talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in London later Sunday, Kerry also said he planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "shortly" to discuss peace efforts.

In regards to the talks with Arab League officials, Kerry said: "We all of us agreed that a final status agreement is important in enhancing regional security and stability throughout the Middle East."

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed on July 29, after Kerry shuttled between Jerusalem, the West Bank and Amman for several months seeking to end a three-year stalemate in the negotiations.

The two sides have since met three times in August and in early September in Jerusalem.

In line with Kerry's desire to keep the details of the negotiations secret in order to give the process a chance to work, little has leaked about the talks.

Ahead of the first bilateral meetings in Jerusalem on August 14, Israel announced plans to build more than 2,000 Jewish settler homes on Palestinian territory, in a move that angered Palestinian negotiators.

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