U.S. hopes for "framework" Mideast peace deal within weeks

by Reuters
Friday, 31 January 2014 12:53 GMT

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Obama administration hopes to complete a "framework" accord within a few weeks between Israel and the Palestinians and will then seek to negotiate a final peace deal by the end of 2014, the U.S. envoy to the talks told American Jewish leaders. Martin Indyk, working with both sides to narrow differences in a renewed peace effort, said in a conference call on Thursday the framework would address the core issues in the conflict, including borders, Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem, a participant in the call told Reuters on Friday. The framework would call for the establishment of an Israeli security zone along the Jordan River in the West Bank - a key Israeli demand that Palestinians are reluctant to grant - but would not specify how long the Israeli military presence would last, the source said. Both sides would be able to state their reservations to parts of the framework even as they proceed toward a permanent agreement, the source said. With Israelis and Palestinians still strongly at odds on many key elements, Indyk offered no guarantee that such a preliminary accord could be clinched. There have been few signs of progress since Secretary of State John Kerry launched the U.S.-brokered peace effort last summer with a nine-month timeframe for a final deal. (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick)

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