SHARM EL SHEIK, Egypt — The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority held more than two hours of face-to-face peace talks in this Red Sea resort on Tuesday, delving into several of the core issues that divide the two sides but not breaking an impasse over Jewish settlements, The New York Times reports.
President Obama’s special representative, George J. Mitchell, said he was encouraged by the overall direction of the talks, but declined to say whether the two sides had made any progress on a dispute over Israel’s moratorium on settlement construction, which is scheduled to expire on Sept. 26.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has ruled out extending the moratorium, while the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has threatened to walk out of the talks if Israel allows the moratorium to expire.
The busy day of diplomacy, at a sun-baked luxury hotel overlooking the sparkling waters of the Red Sea, was the second round of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, after an opening session in Washington two weeks ago. The United States again played a central role, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Mitchell taking part in the meetings.
In a sign of the complexity of the issues, Mr. Netanyahu delayed plans to return to Jerusalem after a lunch hosted by the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, so that he could hold a second meeting with Mr. Abbas. The two plan to meet again with Mrs. Clinton on Wednesday in Jerusalem.
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