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Russia Says Israeli, Palestinians Officials Agree To Hold Talks

Russia's Foreign Ministry says Palestinian and Israeli officials have agreed to meet for talks in Moscow, in an effort to restart the peace process in the Middle East now dormant for more than two years.

But the announcement, made on September 8, said only that the two sides had agreed "in principle" to meet, and no date or format was given for the proposed talks.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said U.S. officials were following the Russian efforts and were supportive of any effort to bring the two parties together.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain far apart on many issues, and their differences have prevented meaningful talks since Netanyahu took office in 2009.

The last round of talks broke down in 2014, with no progress reported during months of U.S.-brokered negotiations.

The effort highlights a push by Moscow to resume an active role in the Middle East's nettlesome politics, an effort underscored further by its game-changing military campaign to bolster the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, a close ally.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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