WASHINGTON, July 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama called Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday for reviewing recent developments toward peace between the Palestinians and Israel, said the White House.
According to a White House statement, President Obama, in the phone talk, expressed his "strong support" for Abbas's leadership on behalf of the Palestinian people, and noted progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks.
The two leaders "reviewed ways to advance to direct talks in the near term, in order to reach an agreement that ends the conflict, and establishes an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel," said the statement.
The phone talk, which came three days after the Obama-Netanyahu meeting in Washington, was widely viewed to be reflecting President Obama's ambition, or impatience to some extent, to push Israel and the Palestinians to make peace deal as soon as possible.
At a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, Obama said he hopes the direct peace talks could be held in September. Netanyahu echoed that Israel believes peace is the best option for itself and the Palestinians and would change the entire Middle East.
"I think it's high time to begin direct talks. I think with the help of President Obama, (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud) Abbas and myself should engage in direct talks to reach a political settlement of peace, coupled with security and prosperity," said Netanyahu.
Under the pressure mounted by the Obama administration, the Israeli government and the PNA resumed their talks in May, although in an indirect way mediated by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, ending a 17-month-long stalemate.
Obama has urged both sides to resume direct talks in order to reach a permanent agreement that leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. But the two sides ignored the call because of dispute over Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians insists the talks shall not resume until Israel totally freezes the Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, while the Israeli side blames PNA of setting condition for resuming the talks and vows to ensure the "natural growth" of the Jewish settlements.
At least 450,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
- Israeli PM calls for direct peace talks with Palestinians 2010-07-08
- Netanyahu calls for direct peace talks with Abbas 2010-07-08
- Obama: Netanyahu to face tough choices 2010-07-07
- Obama, Netanyahu discuss peace 2010-07-07