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Kerry, Abbas meet for second day on core issues in Israeli peace talks

  |   Feb. 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The top U.S. diplomat and the head of the Palestinian Authority agreed to meet again Thursday to discuss key issues in peace talks with Israel, officials say.

The announcement by a senior State Department official followed a two-hour meeting Wednesday night in Paris between Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

The evening meeting was described by the State Department as "an in-depth discussion."

Recent comments by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat have been "unhelpful" in the discussions, Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday night in Vienna.

Erekat has remarked that Israel plans an incursion into Gaza as a distraction from the peace negotiations and that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was hoping for Abbas to be assassinated.

Nine months of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis are scheduled to end April 29. Kerry will reportedly present a framework for continuing the talks in the coming weeks.

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