US, Britain want direct Middle East peace talks 'soon'

6th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed during a phone conversation Friday that Israel and the Palestinians should "move to direct talks as soon as possible," the White House said.

In a statement, the White House said Obama and Cameron discussed a range of international issues, including the British leader's visits to India and Turkey and his meetings with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari.

"The president and the prime minister also discussed ongoing efforts to advance peace in the Middle East, and agreed on the need for the parties to move to direct talks as soon as possible," the statement said.

The Palestinians and Israelis have since May been holding indirect "proximity" talks, with former US senator George Mitchell acting as an intermediary.

The two sides have not held direct negotiations since Israel launched a military offensive against Hamas militants in December 2007.

Abbas has conditioned the resumption of direct negotiations on a complete Israeli halt to settlement building in the Palestinian West Bank.

© 2010 AFP

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