Israelis, Palestinians meet twice in secret

Updated: 2013-08-21 10:39


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JERUSALEM - Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni met with her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat in Jerusalem Tuesday for the second time in the day, after having convened in the morning, Israeli media reported, quoting Palestinian officials.

It should be noted that no official announcement was carried out by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, which refused to comment on the reports.

The first meeting took place at the King David Hotel on Tuesday morning, Israeli officials told the Ha'aretz daily.

Parties then met for a second time in the evening, starting from around 8:00 pm local time (GMT 1800), reportedly attended by the US envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, at an undisclosed location in Jerusalem.

Livni and Erekat met last Tuesday in Jerusalem, for a five-hour meeting, the Times of Israel website reported. The talks were being held under secrecy, without photo-ops, press releases or written statements.

A reason for the secrecy may be the desire to calm down critics on both ends, as tensions rose high over Israel's stated intent to build more than 1,500 new housing units in the West Bank recently.

US officials have repeatedly urged both parties to stay on track and continue the negotiations, which started in Washington on July 30, after a three-year halt due to Israel's construction in the settlements.

On Monday, Army Radio reported that Indyk had urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to keep the negotiations on course despite Israel's settlement activity.