( AP )- Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will resume later this week, after a brief suspension owing to Israel's February 27 - March 2 offensive in the Gaza Strip against rocket-firing militants, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas froze Palestinian participation in the talks after the Israel's Gaza actions resulted in over 120 Palestinians dead. But he backed down last Wednesday, during a visit to the region by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In addition to the peace talks, US General William Fraser is set to arrive in the region for a three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss implementation of the international "road map" peace plan, Erekat said.
The peace plan, the basis for the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, calls on Israel to halt settlement activity and on the Palestinians to crack down on militants.
Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed at a US-hosted conference in Annapolis, Maryland on November 27 to relaunch peace talks, after a seven-year hiatus, in the hope of reaching a deal by the end of 2008.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Premier Ahmed Qureia have been holding regular meetings since the talks got underway in December, but have avoid making public statements on the progress of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier died of his wounds Sunday morning, after being seriously wounded in an explosion on the Gaza- Israel border last Thursday morniong , an Israeli military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said.
Another soldier had died on Thursday afternoon from wounds sustained in the blast, which occurred when an army jeep drove over a bomb planted next to the border fence by Palestinian militants.