Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni says negotiations with the Palestinians in Washington could start right away.

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The expectation had been that Monday's meeting in Washington would prepare for a new round of Mideast peace talks after five years of diplomatic stalemate, but Livni said "the idea is to start the negotiations today."

"There is a lot of cynicism and skepticism and pessimism but there is also hope," Livni told The Associated Press before heading to Washington for a dinner Monday evening with the Palestinians hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after meeting U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon.

"I believe that by relaunching the negotiations we can recreate hope for Israelis and Palestinians as well," she said.


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