Israel-Palestinian peace talks held in Jerusalem

15 August 2013 10:12
Jerusalem (QHA) -

The first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in three years have been held in Jerusalem, officials say, reports BBC.

The aim of the talks is to negotiate an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the so-called two-state solution - a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel.

Both sides confirmed that the meeting - cloaked in secrecy - had ended late on Wednesday after several hours.

A senior Israeli official described the talks as "long and serious" but no statement was published.

The meeting began hours after Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal to restart the stalled negotiations.

Although the agenda has not been publicized, US Secretary of State John Kerry has previously said that all final-status issues - Jerusalem, borders, security arrangements, settlements and Palestinian refugees - are on the table.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will be among the first issues, whereas the Palestinians have said borders and security top the agenda.

The Palestinians want their state to include land captured by Israel in 1967, but some 500,000 Israelis now live in settlements built on the occupied territories.

Although no timeframe for these talks has been set, the US has said that final-status negotiations will be held for nine months.