Abbas aide: Path to Mideast talks still blocked

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JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Palestinian official says the path to formal negotiations with Israel is still blocked, despite a U.S. suggestion that the sides are close to returning to the table.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh said in a statement late Sunday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to send a delegate to Washington to continue lower-level preliminary talks with an Israeli counterpart about the terms for negotiations.

Abu Rdeneh says that for actual peace talks to resume, Israel must first accept its pre-1967 war frontier as a baseline and halt settlement building, demands Israel's leader has rejected in the past. The Palestinians seek a state in the lands Israel captured in 1967.

Abu Rdeneh says the Washington talks are meant to "overcome the obstacles that still stand in the way of launching negotiations."

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