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WASHINGTON – Pressing ahead in a new U.S.-backed push for Middle East peace, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed Tuesday to meet again within two weeks to start substantive talks in hopes of reaching a long-elusive settlement within nine months.
Speaking after the two sides wrapped up an initial two days of talks at the State Department and visited President Barack Obama at the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry said Israel and the Palestinians were committed to sustained and serious negotiations on the “core issues” that divide them. The next round will take place in either Israel or the Palestinian territories before mid-August, he said.
Kerry said he was aware of the deep doubts surrounding the new peace effort and acknowledged that the road would be difficult. Yet, he said, “While I understand the skepticism, I don’t share it. And I don’t think we have time for it.”
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