First round of new Mideast peace talks starts in Washington

The first peace talks between Israel and Palestine since direct negotiations stalled in the autumn of 2010 began Monday in Washington.

The talks between Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as an intermediary, are aimed at negotiating the establishment of a Palestinian state and the peaceful co-existence of both countries.

There are, however, many obstacles to the negotiations, including the drawing of borders and the repatriation of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the agenda of the current round of talks across Monday and Tuesday is to decide how and where future negotiations will be held.

Livni, Erekat and Kerry met over dinner Monday evening, and on Tuesday are expected to proceed to deliberations.

The round of negotiations may touch upon the Palestinian demand for future borders to align with those before the 1967 war in which Israel occupied the West Bank, as well as issues such as the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Kerry named former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as a special envoy to the talks on Monday.

Alluding to the challenges ahead, U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday: "The United States stands ready to support (Israel and Palestine) through these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security."