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Saturday Jan. 14, 2012 1:36 PM (EST+7)
Israel, Palestinians to hold further talks Saturday

Read more: peace process, negotiations, settlements, Quartet, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu

JERUSALEM, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Israelis and Palestinians will hold their third round of face-to-face meetings this year on Saturday in what diplomats hope might lead to the resumption of full peace talks, sources on each side said on Friday.

The exploratory discussions began on Jan. 3 and followed a long break in negotiations after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended talks 15 months ago over Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Abbas on Thursday played down prospects of any breakthrough, telling members of his Fateh party that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not put forward any new proposals.

The words that we heard in Netanyahu's residence (in 2010)are the same words he is repeating now, nothing new, Abbas said, adding that he had told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the apparent lack of progress.

Abbas is due to travel to London, Berlin and Moscow over the next 10 days to discuss the situation.

The Quartet of international peace mediators - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - sought in October to revive the peace talks, which broke down weeks after they began in 2010.

The Quartet wants the two sides to state their positions on the borders and security arrangements of a future two-state solution by Jan. 26 to help open the door to a resumption of full negotiations.

U.S. officials have signaled that the Jan. 26 target date for the two sides to exchange proposals could slide.

An internal European Union report, leaked to reporters this week, warned that the chances of creating a workable Palestinian state alongside Israel were being eroded by constant Jewish settlement building and restrictions on Palestinian economic activity and demographic growth.

The window for the two-state solution is rapidly closing, said the report, put together by EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The negotiators are holding their meetings in Amman under the auspices of Jordan's King Abdullah, who will visit U.S. President Barack Obama next week to review developments. (Additional reporting by Jihan Abdalla; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mark heinrich)






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