Israeli-Palestinian talks to resume Aug 14 in Jerusalem: US
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia – Agence France-Presse
US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) looks on as chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat (L) and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (R) shake hands after speaking at the State Department in Washington on July 30, 2013. AFP PhotoPalestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume talks on ending their long-standing conflict on August 14 in Jerusalem, the US State Department said Thursday.
The talks restarted last month in Washington under US mediation, and both sides agreed to try to resolve their differences within nine months.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that US mediator Martin Indyk would attend the next round of talks, which will be followed by a meeting in Jericho.
She added that US Secretary of State John Kerry, who hosted July's resumption of the talks "does not expect to make any announcement in the aftermath of this round of talks." After three years of stalemate in the peace process and six decades of hot and cold conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, last month's meeting was hailed as a breakthrough.
Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat held two days of face-to-face dialogue in the US capital and promised to quickly resume talks in their divided region.
The rivals and their US mentor hope to reach an agreement on recognizing two states living side-by-side in peace, across a border roughly based on that of 1967, but many thorny issues remain.
The final status of the city of Jerusalem and of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are expected to be sticking points, along with Palestinian demands that refugees be allowed to return to land now in Israel.
The US spokeswoman said the United States had expressed its concern to Israel after reports that it was to authorize the building of a thousand new homes for Jewish settlers on Palestinian land.
Settlement building infuriates Palestinians, and the peace process has been derailed in the past by disputes over new housing.
"Our position on settlements has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and oppose any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts," Psaki said.
"The secretary has made clear that he believes both of the negotiating teams are at the table in good faith and are committed to working together to make progress. "We are speaking to the government of Israel and making our concerns known." Psaki also announced that Kerry and US National Security Adviser Susan Rice were to meet leaders of the Jewish American and Arab American communities at the White House to discuss their contribution to the peace process.