Jordanian PM: Washington Must Help Restart Mideast Peacemaking

Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit told State Department's David Welch U.S. must create 'appropriate climate' for renewed talks.

AMMAN, Jordan - Jordan's prime minister urged the United States to intensify efforts to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians during talks Monday with a top U.S. official in the Jordanian capital.

Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit told the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, David Welch, "The Quartet - and the U.S. in particular - should help create the appropriate climate for the resumption of political negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis to reach a lasting and just peace in accordance with the road map," the official Petra news agency reported.

The long-stalled U.S.-backed road map peace plan calls for an end to Palestinian violence and Israeli settlement building and envisions the establishment of a Palestinian state.

On Sunday, Welch held talks in Jordan with envoys from the Mideast Quartet that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, on the fate of Western funding to the Palestinians after a Hamas-led government was sworn into office.

The U.S. and European Union have said they will halt millions of dollars in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority unless the radical group Hamas renounces violence, recognizes Israel and commits to the peace process.

The envoys from the four bodies that make up the Mideast Quartet met to discuss the next steps, but no official statement on the meeting results has been issued.