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September 11, 2013 9:13 am

Report: Kerry Guarantees Peace Talks Will Start With ’67 Lines

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations at the U.S. Department of State. Photo: State Department. Nabil A. Shaath, the Palestinian Authority’s commissioner for international relations, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “guaranteed” the Palestinians in writing that the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations would start from the 1967 lines, the New York Times reported.

The U.S. State Department denied Shaath’s assertion.

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“We have always said that if you don’t hear news about the talks from senior U.S. officials, you can’t count on it being reliable,” Marie E. Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, told the Timesin an email. “This is a good example.”

Shaath did not provide the Times with a copy of Kerry’s signature, but insisted that the signed document exists and said the Palestinian Authority wouldn’t have entered into renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations without it.

If true, Kerry’s guarantee to the Palestinians would fall in line with U.S. President Barack Obama’s May 2011 statement that the starting point for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal should be “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately responded to Obama by calling the 1967 lines “indefensible borders.”

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