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Kerry joins Middle East peace talks

US secretary of state John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as peace negotiations hit a critical make-or-break point.

The US state department said Mr Kerry will travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories amid a flurry of diplomatic activity by American mediators, who have been holding urgent talks with the two sides in the hope of salvaging the troubled negotiations and getting them to extend the talks beyond a current late-April deadline.

With the parties unable to agree on the terms of a promised Israeli prisoner release, the negotiations risk collapse in the coming weeks.

Mr Kerry has been in Paris, where he met Russia's foreign minister for talks about the Ukraine crisis.

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