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US, Mideast mediators meet with low expectations

By Matthew Lee

Associated Press

Published: Monday, July 11 2011 3:00 a.m. MDT

Ibrahim Qannan, a reporter at the Palestinian news agency Maan, inspects the damage of the front door of his office in Gaza City, Sunday, July 10, 2011. The Palestinian news agency said that a firebomb was hurled at its Gaza City newsroom, setting off a small fire that damaged the front door of the office Sunday morning. Maan is an independent news agency but critics accuse it of being sympathetic to the Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank.

Hatem Moussa, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The United States and other Mideast mediators meet Monday in Washington. The talks come as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process lies in shambles and an upcoming U.N. confrontation is anticipated over whether to admit Palestine as an independent country.

Modest goals have been set by the U.S., the United Nations, Russia and the European Union. Foremost is getting Israeli and Palestinian negotiators back to the table for direct talks after nine months of inaction.

But U.S. and other officials say neither side appears willing to commit to new discussions based on parameters that President Barack Obama outlined in a May speech: two states based on the territorial boundaries that existed before the 1967 Mideast war, with the sides swapping some territory to account for population shifts and security concerns.

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