Van Nuys, CA -- Today, Congressman Howard L. Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the following statement praising the announcement that direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians will begin next month:

``Yesterday’s announcement that Israel and the Palestinian Authority will resume direct peace talks is an important step forward to achieving a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While I am under no illusions as to the difficult nature these negotiations will pose, I am pleased that President Abbas has finally accepted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s longstanding offer to move ahead with direct talks. Much credit is also due to Senator Mitchell. Were it not for his tireless efforts--and those of Secretary of State Clinton and the Obama Administration as a whole--it is unlikely peace efforts would have progressed this far.''

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