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Israel’s foreign minister to head Palestinian talks

JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Foreign Minister David Levy to head Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians. The appointment came after Dan Shomron, the previous top negotiator, resigned from the position after the signing of the Hebron agreement earlier this month. Netanyahu has also decided to have Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai coordinate security discussions with Syria, when those talks resume, Israel Radio reported. If Syria placed its foreign minister at the head of its negotiating team, the report added, the Israeli delegation would be led at the same level. The prime minister has also requested that attorney Yitzhak Molcho, a confidant, continue his involvement in the talks with the Palestinians. As part of the Hebron agreement, Israel and the Palestinians decided to resume the final-status negotiations in the spring. The most difficult issues confronting the two sides — including the future status of Jerusalem — will be addressed in those talks.

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