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Palestinians negotiators head for peace talks in U.S.

By Xinhua,

Ramallah : The Palestinian negotiations team with Israel headed on Tuesday to the United States to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on permanent status issues, officials said.

Before the team left the West Bank to the United States through Jordan, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that the talks with Rice will be held from Wednesday to Thursday.

“The talks with Rice would tackle the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations on the major permanent status issues,” Erekat said, adding “The Palestinian team would brief Rice on the latest developments in the talks.”

Since Annapolis peace conference, which was held in the United States last November, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been holding a series of sessions of talks, but no progress yet had been announced.

“We would brief Rice on the obstacles that obstruct the peace negotiations with the Israeli side, mainly the expansion of settlements and the Israeli security measures in the West Bank,” said Erekat.

He added that the Palestinian delegation “would ask from the U.S. administration to exert more efforts to push forward the negotiations in order to reach a final agreement before the end of the year.”

The United States had invited the two negotiations teams to hold another session of peace negotiations in Washington and to evaluate the previous sessions held in Jerusalem between the two sides.

The Palestinians had earlier threatened that they would quit the talks with Israel if the latter continues its expansion of settlements in the West Bank and around Jerusalem.