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 Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni Peace process not over

Jerusalem,  Israel: Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said Thursday that the door was not closed on the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians after the former claimed to suspend the talks, the media reported.

"We are not closing the door on the talks. The cabinet did not decide on unilaterally withdrawing from the negotiations table but rather to suspend and re-examine them," Xinhua quoted Livni as saying.

"We need to take some time to see how we respond to this harsh incident," she said, referring to the agreement signed by the Fatah and the Hamas Palestinian factions Wednesday.

Livni said that she will not negotiate with Hamas, as it was considered by Israel and the US as a terrorist organisation, and that she supports Israel's decision to suspend the negotiations currently.

Earlier on Thursday the Israeli government released a statement following a six-hour cabinet meeting, saying it would not conduct talks with a Hamas-backed Palestinian government.

Israel and the Palestinian authority have been negotiating since late July. The deadline for the talks to materialise is next Tuesday.

Negotiators from the two sides have met several times in the past two weeks trying to extend the talks beyond that deadline.

The current deadlock emerged last month after Israel refused to release Palestinian prisoners as it promised and planned to build hundreds more housing units in east Jerusalem, while the Palestinians in response requested to join 15 international treaties. (IANS)

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