US: Mideast peace talks to relaunch Monday in Washington

US: Mideast peace talks to relaunch Monday in Washington

Renewed peace talks between senior negotiating teams from Israel and the Palestinian Authority are to be held late Monday and Tuesday in Washington, the US State Department announced, dpa reported.

The restart of negotiations, stalled for nearly three years, is being mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to personally extend invitations.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, an envoy for Netanyahu, will represent Israel, and the Palestinian delegation will include chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh, who has worked on United Nations issues for the Palestinian Authority, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

A starting date for talks had been uncertain since July 19, when Kerry announced the relaunch of negotiations.

Israel on Sunday approved the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture, which Kerry had said would facilitate the resumption of talks. Thirteen Israeli cabinet ministers voted in favour of the prisoner release, while seven voted against and two abstained.

The cabinet approved a bill that would make it compulsory to hold a referendum about any peace agreement that would entail giving up territory that falls under Israeli law.

Such legislation would apply to Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, land near the "green line" that separates Israel from the West Bank, or the Golan Heights. Any prime minister would be able to give such lands only with the approval of Israeli citizens.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had asked for the release of all prisoners held since before the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords, if Israel wanted to resume negotiations.

Palestinian Prisoners Club head Qadura Fares said Abbas had accepted release in four stages, starting six weeks after talks resume, with six-week intervals between subsequent stages.

The Prisoners Club published a list with 104 names of Palestinians held since the 1980s and early 1990s.

"If not everyone will be released, there will be no negotiations," Fares said.

He said the Palestinian Authority would not accept the release of prisoners to the Gaza Strip, rather than their homes in the West Bank.

"We will not accept deportations. Deportation is a punishment from our point of view," he told Israel Radio. "What is that, to deport elderly people who are all older than 50?"

Netanyahu said he would head a team of senior ministers who, along with the Shin Bet internal security agency, would compose Israel's own list of 104 names.

"We will decide on a list of prisoners who are to be released, after the opening of the negotiations and in accordance with progress," Netanyahu said.

"This moment isn't easy for me. It isn't easy for the ministers and especially it isn't easy for the bereaved families, who are close to my heart. But there are moments in which you have to take difficult decisions for the benefit of the state, and this is one of those moments."

About 100 people, including relatives of Israelis killed in attacks by Palestinian militants, protested outside Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, chanting "No to the release of terrorists" and "no to the release of murderers of children."

Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party - Netanyahu's hardline coalition partner - said he would vote against the release.

"It is peculiar that in the state of Israel, murderers of women and children are those for whom it is the easiest to get a pardon," he said to cheers of "Thank you! Thank you!" from the demonstrators.

Yuval Steinitz of Netanyahu's Likud party said he would support the release "not because it's such a fantastic proposal" but because Israel had a responsibility to the international community and could not afford to be "portrayed today as the one who refuses peace negotiations."

Militants who killed Israeli civilians "should rot in prison until their last day, but our job is not to do what we feel but rather what is good for Israel and the revival of peace negotiations," said Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party.

Almost 5,000 Palestinians are currently jailed in Israel for security-related offences. They include 105 long-serving militants who have been in jail since before the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords.

Putin to hold annual press conference via video link on December 17
Putin to hold annual press conference via video link on December 17
U.S. agency opens probe into 115,000 Tesla vehicles over suspension issue
U.S. agency opens probe into 115,000 Tesla vehicles over suspension issue
Japan ruling party proposal backs assistance for COVID-hit airlines
Japan ruling party proposal backs assistance for COVID-hit airlines
Loading Bars
Latest
Brexit goes down to the wire: EU and UK say big differences remain
Iran expected to reduce potato production
Azerbaijan national team won silver and bronze medals at 36th European Championship in Ukraine
Diesel fuel production down in Azerbaijan
Кazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender to buy batteries
Export of grain and legumes by Turkey to Iran down
Turkey registers nearly 30,000 new coronavirus cases as recoveries surpass 390,000
Kazakhstan has high hopes for homegrown COVID-19 vaccine - Minister
Georgia expect stabilization of pandemic with the expansion of restrictions
Iraq reports 2,545 new COVID-19 cases, 547,215 in total
Resolution adopted by French Senate is gross violation of int'l law - Honorary Member of French Parliament
Erdoğan urges public caution against COVID-19 in Turkey amid violations
76 Iranian professors among world top 2% scientists
Monetary policy in Georgia remains tightest among CIS - Renaissance Capital
Representatives of Kyrgyzstan take part in XVIII meeting of CSTO ICMEC
Britain records 16,022 new coronavirus cases, 521 new deaths
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 36th European Championship in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Ukraine
Turkish political parties condemn French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
World Maritime University, Georgia aim to develop maritime education, capacity-building activities
Georgia makes giant strides in transposition of energy efficiency acquis
Cash receipts from Azerbaijan to Georgia increases
Number of debit cards in Azerbaijan increases
Uzbekistan increases raisins export to Netherlands
Georgia to subsidize wheat flour price
IAEA to implement multiple projects in Georgia
Uzbekistan, Hungary consider establishing Uzbek-Hungarian Business Council
Uzbekistan confirms repayment schedules on ADB loan for solid waste cleaning
Percentage of problem loans in Azerbaijan down
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for vehicles provision
Tree-planting campaign continues in Azerbaijan's Gubadli (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan raises commercial gas production
COVID-related quarantine may be strengthened in Kazakhstan in December
German Bundestag welcoming cessation of hostilities in Karabakh for sustainable peace
Spain names main Turkmen sectors of its interest
Iran to follow FATF-related bills
French Development Agency puts emphasis on increasing solar and wind capacity integration in Georgia
Putin to hold annual press conference via video link on December 17
Share of Austria in total import of Azerbaijan increases
Kazakhstan, Canada discuss prospects for agriculture co-op
Iranian Aras Free Trade Zone reveals its trade surplus
Modernization of primary gas treatment unit carried out at Uzbek oil field
Ambassador of Mexico meets with Azerbaijani Acting Minister of Culture
Azerbaijan supplying drinking water to liberated Shusha city (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan consistently works to strengthen regional cooperation - MFA
Azerbaijan's import of chemical products from Turkey up
Conflicts, external aggression threaten peace, security - Azerbaijani FM (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Minister of Economy receives Qatari ambassador (PHOTO)
Iran's industrial cities work at minimum capacity
U.S. agency opens probe into 115,000 Tesla vehicles over suspension issue
Turkey discloses Istanbul Airport's ten-month passenger traffic volume
Japan ruling party proposal backs assistance for COVID-hit airlines
Iran's Social Security Organization to forgive insurance fines of employers
Elbit Systems wins Spanish Army radio deal
Putin meets RSC members to discuss Russian peacekeepers' activities in Karabakh
Uzbek metallurgical plant switches to int’l financial reporting standards
New company established in Azerbaijan's Sumgayit city
Iran to close public offices amid COVID-19
Volume of industrial lending in Azerbaijan grows
Azerbaijani 'Maestro Niyazi' dry-cargo ship repaired and tested
France-24 TV channel broadcasts reportage about liberated Fuzuli district of Azerbaijan (VIDEO)
Small state enterprises, vehicles to be auctioned in Azerbaijan
Uzbek Ministry of Finance eyes setting excise tax on sugar imports
New electronic services to be introduced in Turkmenistan's banking system
Oil bitumen imports decrease to Georgia
10M2020 cargo, passenger traffic in Turkish Esenboga Airport drops
Discovery of Turkmen scientists expected to make unique contribution to healthcare system on global scale
Azerbaijan detects 3,712 new COVID-19 cases, 1,359 recoveries
World to need at least 1.1 trillion barrels of hydrocarbons over next 20 years
Kazakhstan decreases crude petroleum oil supplies to Netherlands
Number of construction enterprises, organizations in Uzbekistan up
Central Bank of Azerbaijan reveals data on population's deposits
Georgia sees decrease in import of aviation fuel
Oil & gas industry is not at risk of being starved of capital
Nearly half of bank deposits in Azerbaijan made in foreign currency, says CBA
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender for medical supplies purchase
Iran Parliament speaker obliges gov't to implement “People's Livelihood Protection Act” as soon as possible
Luxury hotels to be created in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Azerenerji OJSC implementing essential project in Karabakh, adjacent districts
Gold, silver prices in Azerbaijan down
Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom sees threefold increase in profits
Turkey's VP talks current defense-related projects
Iran to join several countries in coronavirus vaccine development
Cybersecurity - one of main objectives of Georgia - Energy Community Secretariat report
UNDP office in Uzbekistan to buy agricultural equipment via tender
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to raise funds at deposit auction
Azerbaijan's Central Bank reveals year-on-year data on lending to household sector
Facebook cryptocurrency Libra to launch as early as January but scaled back
“Investment Treaty” intensively negotiated between Georgia and Japan
ACG oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal exceeds 190 million barrels
Turkmenistan prepares project for intellectual property system dev’t
Prime Minister Modi inaugurates RE-Invest 2020
TAP is operational and can deliver gas, says managing director
Uzbek Anti-Crisis Fund expenses up due to extended COVID-9 resistance
Ruling coalition in Germany stands for Berlin’s participation in promoting peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani gymnasts in group exercises reach final of European Championship in Ukraine
Azerbaijan's labor ministry, Azermash Group LLC sign tender contract
Iran reduces imports of chemicals from Turkey
Plastic cards becoming more popular in Kazakhstan
Turkish Ombudsman Institution prepares special report on Armenia's war crimes against Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan prepares project aimed at developing energy diplomacy
All news