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State Department Announces Plans for Mid-East Peace Talks  

JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The focus of Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department was on the Mid-East peace talks on Monday as Kerry announced veteran ambassador Martin Indyk will be the United States negotiator in the upcoming talks and the new special envoy for the Middle-East.
Kerry praised the experience of the veteran ambassador, who served in the Clinton administration under both Secretaries of State Christopher and Albright, for knowing, “what works and what doesn’t,” and said that both the Israelis and Palestinians trust him.
“Ambassador Indyk is realistic. He understands that Israeli-Palestinian peace will not come easily and it will not happen overnight,” said Kerry. “But he also understands that there is now a path forward and we must follow that path with urgency.”
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki gave a breakdown of the timeline for the negotiations at a State Department press briefing on Monday.
Negotiating teams from Israel and the Palestinian Authority led by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the Palestinians Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh were to meet with Secretary Kerry shortly before an Iftar dinner at the State Department on Monday evening.
The group will meet again on Tuesday morning, followed by a public announcement by Secretary Kerry later in the day.
The meetings taking place are considered preliminary to final status negotiations, but are seen as a breakthrough in the Mid-East peace process. Israelis and Palestinians have not sat down for direct negotiations in three years.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday that the parties are working on at least a nine month timetable.
“They have all agreed to focus on having talks not just for the sake of talks, but this is the beginning of direct final status negotiations,” said Psaki.

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