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Trump peace envoy expected in region soon to set parameters for talks

Le conseiller spécial en négociations internationales du président américain Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt et le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou à Jérusalem, le 13.03.2017
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Jason Greenblatt wants both sides to state opening positions on borders, refugees, Jerusalem and settlements

US President Donald Trump's envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is expected to arrive in the region by the end of the month to begin the process of drafting a statement of principles that would underpin a new push for peace talks between Jerusalem and Ramallah, Haaretz reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that while a date has not been finalized, Jason Greenblatt could touch down in Tel Aviv as soon as next week, or shortly after the end of Ramadan on June 24.

The Americans want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to decide their positions on what are considered the five 'core issues' of the negotiations: settlements, borders, refugees, security arrangements and the status of Jerusalem.

Those positions would then set the parameters of direct negotiations between the two parties.

"The Americans have ideas and drafts for principles for the renewing of the negotiations," an Israeli source told the newspaper.

"The White House made preparations and held consultations with a number of people in order in order to map the positions of the sides and the talks with Netanyahu and Abbas are a part of this process."

A senior Palestinian official was also quoted by Haaretz as saying that the Palestinian Authority views the Trump administration's endeavors to renew talks with a focus on the core issues, although they do not view Greenblatt's visit as firing the starting gun on new negotiations.

The official was further quoted as saying that during his May meeting with Abbas in Bethlehem, Trump suggested each side send a team of five negotiators to Washington DC, and that the Palestinians are keen on the idea.

Since his appointment to the role, Greenblatt has already met a number of times with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as attending an Arab League summit in Jordan.

The last concerted effort at peace making by the US, under the stewardship of former Secretary of State John Kerry, broke down in early 2014, reportedly because the two sides could not bridge the gaps between them on the core issues.

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