Israel, Palestinians eye peace deal in 9 months

MATTHEW LEE, AP Diplomatic Writer
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Secretary of State John Kerry stands with Israel's Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, right, and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, after the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, July 30, 2013, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Secretary of State John Kerry stands with Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, right, and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, after the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, July 30, 2013, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to meet again within two weeks to continue substantive negotiations on a so-far elusive peace deal. He said the sides had set a goal for a nine-month deadline for reaching a pact.

Speaking as the two sides wrapped up an initial round of talks on Tuesday, Kerry said they were committed to “sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues” that divided them. He said the next round of negotiations would take place in either Israel or the Palestinian territories.

Kerry was flanked by the parties’ lead negotiators who each spoke briefly about the need to resolve the long-standing conflict.

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