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U.N. urges direct peace talks to resume

Nov. 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM

JERUSALEM, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The United Nations and its partners in Middle East peace talks urged Israel and the Palestinians Monday to resume direct talks without delays or preconditions.

The call came after separate meetings in Jerusalem with officials from both sides, the United Nations said in a release.

The discussions Monday were follow-ups to similar meetings last month when both sides agreed to develop comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months.

The meetings are part of a strategy begun in September by the so-called Middle East Quartet -- the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States -- to bring the two sides together again following the breakdown in bilateral talks last year.

The Quartet envoys "continued to encourage the parties to resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions," the United Nations said.

Besides discussing proposals on territory and security, representatives also called on both sides to create an environment that fosters meaningful discussions.

Peace talks have been stalled since September 2010 after Israel didn't extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory. The decision led Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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