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Netanyahu says he's working to save talks

A general view shows new housing construction in the Jewish settlement Har Homa, south of Jerusalem, September 26, 2010. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said direct talks with the Israelis will stop if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not extend the 10-month West Bank settlement construction freeze which is due to expire at midnight tonight. UPI/Debbie Hill
A general view shows new housing construction in the Jewish settlement Har Homa, south of Jerusalem, September 26, 2010. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said direct talks with the Israelis will stop if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not extend the 10-month West Bank settlement construction freeze which is due to expire at midnight tonight. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Israel and the United States are working to break the latest deadlock in peace talks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel was "in the midst of sensitive diplomatic contacts with the U.S. administration to find a solution that will allow the continuation of the talks," Haaretz reported.

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The prime minister also reiterated his commitment to the new round of direct talks, saying Israel had "lived up to our commitment, a difficult commitment that we took upon ourselves."

Netanyahu's comments came as a report by the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat quoted Israeli officials as saying earlier Monday that he had agreed to extend Israel's freeze on settlement construction by 60 days.

The Asharq al-Awsat report came amid recent claims that U.S. President Barack Obama had offered Netanyahu an incentive package in exchange for keeping settlement construction at bay.

According to Israeli sources quoted in the report, Netanyahu agreed to extend the moratorium on settlement building, dependent on a list of U.S. assurances, including a continued Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.

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