Israel, Palestinian envoys meet secretly in Jerusalem

Israel, Palestinian envoys meet secretly in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met secretly in Jerusalem Aug.20, a senior Palestinian official said, a week after U.S.-brokered peace talks were relaunched.

“A meeting was held today between the Palestinian delegation, headed by Saeb Erakat and Mohammad Shtayyeh, and the Israeli delegation of (Justice Minister) Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho,” the official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity. Details of the discussions were not revealed, apparently consistent with a request from Washington last week for a strict news blackout.

The official added that U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s special envoy Martin Indyk met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Aug. 19 to keep up pressure to continue negotiations “despite continued settlement building, which is the biggest obstacle to talks carrying on.” Talks held last week, the fruit of months of intensive U.S. diplomatic efforts to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table after a nearly three-year break, were held under a shroud of secrecy at an undisclosed location in Jerusalem.

Abbas said all key issues were discussed but declined to elaborate because of the agreed news blackout.

The last week’s meetings were overshadowed, however, by a new row over Israeli settlement plans for the occupied Palestinian territories.