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Palestinians say talks with Israel to start Tuesday

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet in Washington on Tuesday for a round of talks after a three-year break, a Palestinian official said on Saturday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he told AFP that the Palestinian delegation would be led by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat with the Israelis headed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

US officials would also take part, he added.

The sides are expected to meet for an informal dinner on Monday evening, he said.

Israel's Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom said on Thursday that talks could resume on Tuesday but neither the date nor venue have so far been officially confirmed.

Israeli media say that Livni, Israel's designated chief negotiator, would be accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal envoy Yitzhak Molcho.

"According to senior officials in Jerusalem, the meeting in Washington is expected to deal primarily with the agenda for holding negotiations, including the subjects to be discussed and the timetable," Haaretz daily wrote on Thursday.

On Saturday, Haaretz and public radio reported that Israel was expected to release more than 100 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners in stages during the talks, which are expected to last for six to nine months.

An Israeli official said this week that the release of "around 80" long-serving Palestinian prisoners was being considered.

The agenda for Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting says Netanyahu will tell ministers about the resumption of the talks, and also ask them to approve the "release of Palestinian prisoners during the course of negotiations". It did not give a number.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130727/palestinians-say-talks-israel-start-tuesday-0