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Palestinians: We don't want Kerry mission to fail

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 2, 2014 at 7:58 a.m.

JERUSALEM — The Palestinians are not walking away from U.S.-led efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, a top Palestinian official said Wednesday, a day after their renewed bid for international recognition of a "state of Palestine" threw Washington's already troubled Mideast mission into further disarray.

As part of the terms for returning to negotiations in late July, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had promised to suspend Palestinian membership applications to U.N. agencies and international conventions.

Israel, in turn, pledged to release 104 long-held Palestinian prisoners during the talks, which were to last until late April.

But in a surprise move Tuesday, Abbas signed letters of accession to 15 international conventions, saying this was a response to Israel's failure to release the last of four groups of prisoners by the end of March.

Israel has not responded. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry canceled plans to return to the Middle East on Wednesday, but also said it's "completely premature" to write off the Israeli-Palestinian talks.

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