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Netanyahu brings stop to meetings with Palestinians

  An Israeli government official says the prime minister, Binjamin Netanyahu, has told his ministers to stop holding meetings with their Palestinian counterparts.

The official said the move was in response to what Israel has called a "provocative" Palestinian bid to join United Nations agencies.

Israel blames the Palestinians for the breakdown in the US-brokered peace talks.

Under Netanyahu's order, cabinet ministers and their ministry directors can no longer meet their Palestinian counterparts, though lower-level contacts will continue. The sides frequently work on day-to-day issues, including the environment and security.

The government official said Israel's leading peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, would be an exception from Netanyahu's order.

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