Israeli, Palestinian leaders may meet next week

Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli and Palestinian officials say they expect Israel's new deputy prime minister to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas early next week in a bid to restart peace talks.

Negotiations have been frozen for nearly four years. The Palestinians want Israel to halt settlement construction on occupied lands before talks can resume. Israel wants negotiations to start without any preconditions.

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given his deputy, Shaul Mofaz, the green light for the meeting. Palestinian officials say they are ready to listen to Mofaz's ideas for resuming dialogue.

Both sides confirmed on Wednesday that the meeting is expected in the coming days. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity pending a decision on a final time and place for the meeting.

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