Israel: Palestinian prisoners to be freed in talks

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By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli official says some Palestinian prisoners will be released as part of the new breakthrough by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in efforts to restart Mideast talks.

Israel's intelligence and strategic affairs minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio on Saturday that some "hardcore prisoners" will be released. This has been a long-standing Palestinian demand.

Steinitz says the Mideast talks will re-start without other Palestinian demands such as settlement freeze or defining 1967 lines as borders ahead of negotiations.

It was the first Israeli comment since Kerry announced on Friday night that the two sides will meet soon in Washington to formalize an agreement on relaunching peace talks that collapsed in 2008.

Kerry said Israel and Palestinian negotiators should be going to Washington soon to hold initial talks.

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