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STATEMENT BY JEN PSAKI, SPOKESPERSON

Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Direct Final Status Negotiations

Today, Secretary Kerry spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and personally extended an invitation to send senior negotiating teams to Washington to formally resume direct final status negotiations. Initial meetings are planned for the evening of Monday July 29 and Tuesday July 30, 2013.

The Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh.  As Secretary Kerry announced on July 19 in Amman, Jordan, the Israelis and Palestinians had reached agreement on the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations.  The meetings in Washington will mark the beginning of these talks.  They will serve as an opportunity to develop a procedural workplan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months.

In his invitation, the Secretary again commended the courage shown by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.  The Secretary said, “Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point.  We are grateful for their leadership.”

The United States and the parties are looking forward to beginning these substantive discussions and in moving forward toward a final status agreement.

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