US to Host New Mideast Peace Talks in Washington

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Israeli and Palestinian officials resume direct peace talks Monday after a three-year hiatus, amid hopes US Secretary of State John Kerry’s quiet diplomacy may this time carry some chance of success.

In a landmark agreement, the chief negotiators from both sides will meet face-to-face to draw up a plan for how the talks will proceed, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The dream of a Middle East peace deal has for decades been a chimera chased by US presidents but has stalled since September 2010, shot down by deep divisions and distrust between the two sides.

After months of dogged diplomacy, Kerry earlier this month, on his sixth trip to the region, wrested from both sides an accord setting out “the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations,” Psaki said in a statement Sunday.

“The meetings in Washington will mark the beginning of these talks. They will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural workplan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months.”

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