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Turkey criticises Israel's housing plan

The approval of Israel's new settlement blocks is "very far from positively contributing to the peace talks", said a statement issued by the Turkish foreign ministry, Xinhua reported.

Ankara welcomed the peace talks, the statement said, adding the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of the confidence-building measure was a significant development.

Israel Sunday approved building nearly 1,200 more homes on occupied lands in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and agreed to release 26 Palestinian prisoners, three days before it enters a new round of peace talks with the Palestinians.

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