Washington, July 29: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume long-stalled direct peace talks today following six months of frenetic shuttle diplomacy by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The State Department announced on Sunday that the two sides had accepted invitations from Mr. Kerry to come to Washington “to formally resume direct final status negotiations.” In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the initial meetings would begin on Monday evening.
She said Mr. Kerry had called both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and said they agreed that the talks would “serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural work plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months.”
“Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point,” Mr. Kerry said in the statement. “We are grateful for their leadership.”
The statement was released shortly after the Israeli Cabinet agreed to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners convicted of deadly attacks, meeting a long-standing Palestinian demand.