WASHINGTON, July 15 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. State Department spokesman said on Thursday the United States is confident that Israelis and Palestinians will resume direct peace talks, but refused to give a specific timeline.
"This is a decision that is first and foremost up to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. They have to make a decision after working on the details of the process they have enough confidence to move into direct negotiations," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
"I think we have a strong belief, at some point in time, direct negotiations will be renewed. Whether that's days from now, weeks from now, I don't think we're in a position to say, at this point, " he said.
On July 6, U.S. President Barack Obama said after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he hoped the direct talks can resume before September when Israel's 10-month moratorium on settlement expansion expires.
George Mitchell, the U.S. Middle East envoy who mediates indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians starting in May, is in the region for a new round of efforts to clear hurdles for direct talks.
Earlier, Arab media reported that Mitchell is carrying "new motivation" to the Palestinians to encourage them to go into face- to-face negotiations with Israel.
But the Palestinian side said it refused to engage in direct negotiations before Israel freezes settlements in disputed areas.