Israel: Palestinian prisoner fate depends on talks

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News,World,Israel,Palestinians

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians has cast doubt on whether a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners will take place.

Tzipi Livni said Tuesday the prisoners will be freed only if there is progress in peace talks. She spoke less than two weeks before the planned release.

Livni said Israel never committed to releasing the prisoners and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds "the key" to their jail cells.

The release would be the fourth and final batch of prisoners Israel agreed to release as part of U.S.-backed peace talks. Those talks appear to have reached an impasse, and a refusal to carry out the release could cause a new crisis.

At the White House this week, Abbas expressed hope the prisoners would go free.

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