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Israel, Palestinians in "serious" peace talks - Egyptian FM

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The Israeli and Palestinian delegations have started a "serious" discussion on all key settlement issues, but it is too early to speak about progress, the Egyptian foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations have started a "serious" discussion on all key settlement issues, but it is too early to speak about progress, the Egyptian foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The second round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, involving Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened on Monday in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh

"It's too early for optimism. So far, there are only serious negotiations which touch upon all issues on the approved agenda," Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit said.

He expressed hope that negotiations would continue and result in a reconciliation agreement.

Egypt's top diplomat also reiterated calls to extend the moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied territories. Israeli authorities gave no definite answer on whether the construction would go on after the moratorium expires on September 26, and the Palestinian leadership threatens to quit the talks if it resumes.

"We should give the negotiations a chance, not pose obstacles," Aboul Gheit said.

The talks are to continue in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Abbas and Netanyahu resumed peace talks on September 2 in Washington, after an almost two-year hiatus, with the two leaders expressing their readiness to search for a compromise.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, September 14 (RIA Novosti) 

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