U.S. says 'gaps narrowing' in talks between Israelis and Palestinians

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:31pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Palestinian lead negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) as he departs Joint Base Andrews in Washington enroute to Ukraine March 3, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Palestinian lead negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) as he departs Joint Base Andrews in Washington enroute to Ukraine March 3, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department said on Thursday that progress was being made in U.S.-mediated negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians meant to keep peace talks going, but denied reports from the region that there had been an agreement.

"Our negotiating team and both parties remain in intensive negotiation. They had another meeting today. The gaps are narrowing but any speculations about an agreement are premature at this time," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular briefing.

Asked precisely what the negotiators were trying to achieve, Psaki said: "We are working to determine what the path forward is for these negotiations."

Psaki said that the U.S. mediator, Martin Indyk, would be returning to Washington for consultations "in the coming days" but would return to the region next week.

The negotiations, which began in July, plunged into crisis last week when Israel, demanding a Palestinian commitment to continue talking beyond an April 29 deadline for a peace deal, failed to carry out a promised release of about two dozen Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded by signing 15 global treaties, including the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and occupations, on behalf of the State of Palestine, a defiant move that surprised Washington and angered Israel.

(Reporting By David Storey; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (7)
sabrefencer wrote:
The US says….the US says, under Obama, so much drivel, the US cant keep its mouth shut…the key is , what do the two negotiating parties say?….that silence does say..it all!

Apr 10, 2014 2:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SoutherRican wrote:
It all depends on how much the U.S. is willing to bribe both parties to keep negotiations going. Since Passover has not started yet, J. Pollard the traitor is still in play. Though I don’t have a horse in play how can the U.S. mediated, since it is the Major supporter of the State of Israel. Well since Kerry is in charge it should not be hard to kiss the bottoms of both sides, anything to add to the Presidential Run resume.

Apr 10, 2014 4:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Hatsin wrote:
@SoutherRican What’s the deal with Pollard anyways? The US spies on its allies constantly in Europe, gets caught, has no backlash at all from europe, but are pissed when Israel does it?

Apr 10, 2014 4:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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