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Israelis and Palestinians agree to talk

Israeli and Palestinian officials yesterday met for the first time in more than a year and agreed to hold further preliminary talks in Jordan as part of an effort to renew formal peace negotiations.

"We do not want to raise our expectations at this stage, but we also do not want to underestimate the importance of the meeting, which gathered the Palestinians and the Israelis face to face," Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said at a news conference to sum up the talks in Amman.

The first get-together between Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart, Yitzhak Molcho, since the breakdown of talks in September 2010 was arranged by the international group known as the Quartet, with help from Jordan's King Abdullah.

Future talks will also be held in Jordan, Judeh said. Israeli and Palestinian officials declined to comment.

Irish Independent