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US slams Israeli settlement move

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has branded Israel's announcement of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem as counter-productive to peace talks in the Middle East.

Mrs Clinton says both sides should avoid provocative actions and that international mediators will remain focused on guiding Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations after almost a year-long hiatus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out any freeze in settlement construction, which the Palestinians see as a key concession.

The US has been hoping for a quick resumption in peace talks to divert attention away from a Palestinian bid to win statehood at the UN Washington has promised to veto the effort, if necessary.

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From Belfast Telegraph