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Israel, Palestinians meet in "harsh atmosphere"

English.news.cn   2014-04-03 20:54:11

JERUSALEM, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. negotiators met on Wednesday night "in a very harsh atmosphere" to salvage the deteriorating peace talks, but ended with no outcome, sources said.

Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and the U.S. Mideast Envoy Martin Indyk convened on Wednesday evening in Jerusalem to try to work out the disagreements over the release of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian decision to sign up for 15 international conventions.

"The meeting lasted for seven hours and was conducted in a very harsh atmosphere ... There was a lot of mutual suspicion and blame throwing over who's responsible for the state of the talks," the source said. The talks ended without any outcomes.

The source added that Livni threatened Israel would enact sanctions on the Palestinian authority if it approaches the International Criminal Court in the Hague to file lawsuits against Israeli officials for Israel's settlement policy and occupation of West Bank lands.

Palestinian sources said that the meeting was a "battle field" where U.S. mediator Indyk did not manage to bridge the gap between the two sides.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that both sides must "lead" and prevent the negotiations from collapsing, adding that there's a limit to what the Obama administration can do to push the parties forward.

"You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises," Kerry said. "The leaders have to lead and they have to be able to see a moment when it's there."

Earlier on Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would sign requests to join 15 UN agencies and international treaties in response to Israel's decision to delay the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners. Livni later accused the Palestinians of breaking their commitment.

Israel approved to release 104 Palestinian prisoners last July amid the resumption of the peace talks. Up to now 78 prisoners have been released. The fourth group was supposed to be released Saturday, but Israel delayed it indefinitely after right-wing ministers' objection to include 14 Israeli Arab prisoners in that group.

Editor: Shen Qing
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