Israel, PA talks to resume


Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed in principle to resume peace negotiations.

Wrapping up a troubleshooting visit to the region, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters Wednesday she had received assurances from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would return to the negotiating table with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Abbas had suspended talks in protest at Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas rocket crews in northern Gaza, which ended Monday.

He has indicated that a resumption of talks would require some sort of truce between Israel and Hamas, but his office and Rice later clarified this was not a precondition.

The secretary of state did not give a date for when Abbas might next meet Olmert, but the sides are expected to appoint a committee next week to review progress made so far in implementing the U.S.-sponsored peace “road map.”

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