U.S. hopes for "framework" Mideast peace deal within weeks

Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:53am EST

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WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Obama administration
hopes to complete a "framework" accord within a few weeks
between Israel and the Palestinians and will then seek to
negotiate a final peace deal by the end of 2014, the U.S. envoy
to the talks told American Jewish leaders.
    Martin Indyk, working with both sides to narrow differences
in a renewed peace effort, said in a conference call on Thursday
the framework would address the core issues in the conflict,
including borders, Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees and
the status of Jerusalem, a participant in the call told Reuters
on Friday.
    The framework would call for the establishment of an Israeli
security zone along the Jordan River in the West Bank - a key
Israeli demand that Palestinians are reluctant to grant - but
would not specify how long the Israeli military presence would
last, the source said.
    Both sides would be able to state their reservations to
parts of the framework even as they proceed toward a permanent
agreement, the source said.
    With Israelis and Palestinians still strongly at odds on
many key elements, Indyk offered no guarantee that such a
preliminary accord could be clinched. There have been few signs
of progress since Secretary of State John Kerry launched the
U.S.-brokered peace effort last summer with a nine-month
timeframe for a final deal.

 (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick)
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