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Palestinian President Abbas in talks with Obama

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive at the White House on Monday for a potentially crucial meeting with US President Barack Obama on the future of the talks with Israel. The deadline for the end of the current stage of the talks is at the end of the month and American mediators have so far failed to deliver a frame agreement to launch the next stage of negotiations.

    There is a general agreement over a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, along with territorial swaps that will enable the large settler blocs to remain within Israeli territory, but many issues remain outstanding.

    These include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state and the question of Jerusalem. Israel is also insisting that it retains a military presence in the Jordan Valley after a future pullback.

    Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat admitted in an interview this week with Israeli Army Radio that he had recommended to Mr Abbas that he break off the talks but had been convinced to continue as Israel is due to release a fourth tranche of Palestinian prisoners at the end of the month.

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