Netanyahu tells Abbas: I will cooperate for peace
Palestinian leader calls PM to wish him a happy Passover; Palestinian FM: Abbas planning visit to U.S.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday that he planned to cooperate with him in order to advance mutual peace efforts.
Abbas called Netanyahu to extend holiday greetings for Passover , adding that "both sides needed to work for peace", according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.
Netanyahu, whose right-leaning government took office on March 31, said "he intended to resume" talks and cooperation with the Palestinians for the sake of promoting peace, the statement said.
Israeli officials said this was the first contact between the two leaders since Netanyahu became prime minister for the second time. He last held the post from 1996 to 1999.
Netanyahu "recalled their past cooperation and conversations, and how he intended to resume this in the future in order to advance peace", said the statement.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malkhi said Sunday that Abbas was planning a trip to Washington in the coming weeks to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. Riad told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam that a date has still not be set for the visit, but that it was likely to occur before Netanyahu's own visit.
King Abdullah of Jordan is also planning to visit the White House at the end of the month to urge Obama to move ahead with the Arab peace initiative. Abdullah would be the first Middle East leader to meet with Obama in Washington, ahead of Abbas or Netanyahu.
A Jordanian source told Haaretz that the king would assure Obama of Jordan's commitment to a two-state solution, and would encourage him to support a united Palestinian government.
Abdullah has recently criticized the lack of progress in talks toward a final-status agreement, Israel's settlement policy and the destruction of Arab homes in Jerusalem. He has sought international intervention on these matters.
Abdullah has also expressed disappointment that the Israeli cabinet has not discussed the Arab peace initiative, of which Jordan is a key supporter.
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