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Published: Thursday February 20, 2014 MYT 7:45:02 PM
Updated: Thursday February 20, 2014 MYT 7:45:51 PM

Kerry, Abbas to meet for second day in Paris - U.S.

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet again on Thursday after spending more than two hours discussing Israeli-Palestinian peace the day before, a senior U.S. official said.

"They had an in-depth discussion about the core issues and agreed that it would be beneficial to continue that discussion today," said the senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that the two would meet in the afternoon.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed on July 29 after a nearly three-year break. At the time, Kerry said: "Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months."

As that deadline has approached, U.S. officials appear to have scaled back their ambitions, saying they are trying to forge a "framework for negotiations" as a first step though they still hope to hammer out a full agreement by April 29.

Such a framework could sketch the outlines of an accord to resolve the more than six-decade-old dispute, whose main issues include borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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