28 July 2013, 18:12

Israel approves prisoner release ahead of Palestinian talks

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Israel on Sunday approved the release of 104 Arab prisoners in a a move intended to facilitate the restart of peace talks with the Palestinians and end nearly three years of diplomatic standstill.

Thirteen ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet authorised the release, seven voted against and two abstained, a government official said.

Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the cabinet approved peace talks with the Palestinians but without elaborating where or when.

The statement also did not announce that a prisoner release had been approved, only mentioning the formation of a committee on the issue.

"The government approved the opening of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians... and mandated a ministerial committee for the release of prisoners during the course of the talks," it said.

A Palestinian official said on Saturday that the US-brokered renewal of peace talks, stalled since September 2010, would open in Washington on Tuesday.

Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters

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