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UN receives Palestinians' requests to join treaties

The UN's special envoy on Mideast peace, Robert Serry, has received requests from Palestinians to join 13 international conventions and treaties, the UN confirmed Wednesday. The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture, and the one against corruption. Once these applications have been officially received at the UN headquarters, "we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriate next steps," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the secretary general.

Lawmakers signal Palestinian action could threaten funding

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday they were unhappy about the Palestinian leadership's decision to sign more than a dozen international conventions, and warned it could trigger a cutoff of U.S. aid. "It was extremely disappointing to me that (President Mahmoud Abbas) chose to take this action at the U.N. It is counterproductive and doesn't move them closer to any final resolution," New York Representative Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, said at a House hearing.

Arab ministers to meet April 9 on Israel-Palestinian talks

The Arab League has called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for April 9 on the floundering US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian, its chief Nabil al-Arabi announced Wednesday. The meeting will discuss Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, a key sticking point in the negotiations, Arabi told reporters. Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas requested the meeting, Arabi said, adding it would "examine developments in the light of Israel's refusal to release a fourth tranche of prisoners and extend talks."

Arab ministers to meet April 9 on Israel-Palestinian talks

The Arab League has called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for April 9 on the floundering US-brokered Israel-Palestinian peace talks, League chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Wednesday. The meeting will discuss Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, a sticking point in the protracted negotiations, Arabi told reporters. str-se/jds/bpz

Palestinians back US peace efforts despite UN move

The Palestinians on Wednesday expressed full backing for US efforts to salvage the crisis-hit peace talks, despite announcing a controversial move to seek international recognition. US Secretary of State John Kerry was on Wednesday scrambling to save his faltering Middle East peace efforts just hours after the Palestinians publicly reneged on a commitment to freeze such moves. The announcement was a blow to Kerry's frenetic efforts to resolve a dispute over Palestinian prisoners and find a way to extend the fragile peace talks with Israel beyond an April 29 deadline.

Main stumbling blocks in the Israeli-Palestinian talks

Here is a summary of the key issues that have bogged down eight-months of intensive US efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The talks are currently scheduled to end on April 29, although Washington is hoping to extend the process into 2015.

Palestinians back US peace efforts despite UN move

The Palestinians expressed full backing Wednesday for US efforts to salvage crisis-hit peace talks, despite a controversial move to seek international recognition after Israel stalled a release of prisoners. US Secretary of State John Kerry was on Wednesday scrambling to save his faltering Middle East peace efforts just hours after the Palestinians publicly reneged on a commitment to freeze such moves.

Palestinians hope Kerry will renew peace push 'in days'

The Palestinians want US efforts to salvage the peace process to continue, a senior official said Wednesday, just hours after they renewed controversial moves to seek international recognition. "We hope (US Secretary of State John) Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told reporters in Ramallah. "Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish."

Israeli minister warns Palestinians will pay for UN move

An Israeli minister on Wednesday warned of punitive action if the Palestinians pursued efforts to join UN agencies, as hopes of a breakthrough in the US-led peace process faded rapidly. In a surprise announcement late on Tuesday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he had begun steps to join 15 UN agencies, angering Israel and prompting US Secretary of State John Kerry to cancel an imminent a trip to Ramallah.

Israeli minister warns Palestinians to pay for UN move

An Israeli minister on Wednesday warned of punitive action if the Palestinians pursued efforts to join UN agencies, as hopes of a breakthrough in the US-led peace process faded rapidly. In a surprise announcement late on Tuesday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he had begun steps to join 15 UN agencies, angering Israel and prompting US Secretary of State John Kerry to cancel an imminent a trip to Ramallah.
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