Palestinians, Israelis agree to nine months of peace talks - US
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas during talks in Sharm El-Sheikh, on September 14, 2010 (AFP/File)
Click here to add Jen Psaki as an alert
Disable alert for Jen Psaki,
Click here to add John Kerry as an alert
Disable alert for John Kerry,
Click here to add US State Department as an alert
Disable alert for US State Department,
Click here to add Washington as an alert
Disable alert for Washington
The Palestinian and Israeli delegations that are currently in Washington in an attempt to revive the stalled peace talks have agreed to continue the talks for at least nine months, the US State Department announced on Monday.
"They have all agreed to focus on having talks not just for the sake of talks, but this is the beginning of direct final status negotiations on a nine-month, at least a nine-month, timetable," Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said according to AFP.
"They have agreed to work together through the course of that time," she added, speaking as the delegations arrived in Washington shortly ahead of a dinner to symbolise the resumption of the talks, AFP reported.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been exerting considerable efforts in a bid to bring the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table for the first time since the peace process stalled in September 2010.
The nine-month window was "not a deadline," Psaki told reporters.
"This is an agreement that they will work together for at least that time period on this effort," she said, according to AFP.
"So we're going to make every effort to reach an agreement within that time frame, but again, if we're making progress and we're continuing to make progress, this is not a deadline."
- Palestinian-Israeli peace 'within reach' - Ashton
- Abbas, Netanyahu agree to meet later this month
- Palestinian official slams US' "passive" role in peace talks
- Israeli, Palestinian Negotiators Head for Washington in Efforts to Revive Peace Talks
- Peace talks exacerbating internal differences in Israeli gov't