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News Brief


Palestinian and Israeli officials are giving conflicting reports about progress on the upcoming peace parley.

Quoting a “senior government official,” the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that Israel is prepared to make a joint declaration with the Palestinians that “will address all core issues,” including Jerusalem, refugees and permanent borders.

The remarks came on the heels of a statement Wednesday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinians will not attend the planned November peace conference in Annapolis, Md., “at any price” because the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have failed to make progress.

Ahmed Qureia, the former Palestinian prime minister who is leading the negotiations, told reporters there is “no crisis at all” in the talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a press conference Thursday that the peace talks must be completed before next summer’s Democratic and Republican national conventions, when the U.S. president will become busy with upcoming elections, calling it “a timeline whether Israel likes it or not.”

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