U.S. President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, as part of the U.S. efforts to get Middle East peace negotiations off the ground for the first time in more than three years.
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The president's call comes two days after Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams in Washington to launch the first round of talks.
Obama told Abbas during their call that he supported the peace process, and urged him to take advantage of the opportunity, to move ahead with the renewed peace negotiations quickly and to maintain momentum to achieve results, the Palestinian president's office said.
Abbas told Obama in return that he was committed to the two-state solution and believed a solution must be reached as soon as possible.
Obama stepped up his personal involvement in American efforts to advance the peace process on Tuesday, holding a joint meeting at the White House with both Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, where he called on them to exhibit good will and to remain focused and steadfast throughout the talks.
Obama, who has largely refrained from speaking out on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks over the past four months, released a statement on Monday praising the two sides for returning to the table. "This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead," he said.