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Mid-East leaders vow further talks


Hillary Clinton with Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Mahmoud Abbas (AP)

Hillary Clinton with Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Mahmoud Abbas (AP)

Hillary Clinton with Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Mahmoud Abbas (AP)

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have said they will keep talking and produce a framework for a permanent peace deal following their first session in two years.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will meet again on September 14 and 15 in the Middle East.

The Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik is the most likely meeting place. They will also meet about every two weeks after that.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who hosted Thursday's talks at the State Department in Washington, will attend the next round.

In a public plea for both sides to compromise in the name of peace, Mrs Clinton said the Obama administration had no illusions about reaching a quick breakthrough.

"We've been here before and we know how difficult the road ahead will be," she said. "There undoubtedly will be obstacles and setbacks. Those who oppose the cause of peace will try in every way possible to sabotage this process, as we have already seen this week."

She was referring to Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the disputed West Bank on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell announced the developments after several hours of talks between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas at which the two leaders pledged to work through the region's deeply ingrained mutual hostility and suspicion to resolve the long-running conflict in a year's time.

Mr Mitchell refused to discuss specifics of what the framework agreement would entail but said it would lay out the "fundamental compromises" needed for a final settlement. He was unclear about whether the one-year deadline applied to the framework agreement or a final peace treaty, saying only the goal was to "resolve all of the core issues within one year".

Though "less than a full-fledged treaty", Mr Mitchell said the framework would "establish the fundamental compromises necessary to enable the parties to then flesh out and complete a comprehensive agreement that will end the conflict and establish a lasting peace".

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