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Israel and Palestinian peace talks to start "in two weeks"

    Danny Ayalon
    Danny Ayalon

    Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, has announced that new peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders could start within a fortnight.

    Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to fly to Cairo on Monday to discuss the talks, the first since 2008, with Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

    He told his Likud party in Tuesday that he had heard that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president “intends to renew the talks. I will be very glad if this will indeed be carried out next week,” he said.

    The negotiations, due to last four months, will be mediated by US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

    Mr Ayalon told Israel Radio: “There is no final date yet, but I estimate that it is a matter of some two weeks.”

    Palestinian officials have said they will ask the Arab League to approve the idea of indirect talks with Israel. Mr Abbas said on Israeli television that Palestinians “hope that the reply will be positive”.

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