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Obama talks by phone with Palestinians’ Abbas, Israel’s Netanyahu

Reuters

August 1, 2013 | 1:30 pm

U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on July 31. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on July 31. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

President Barack Obama spoke separately by phone on Thursday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a White House official said, as the United States seeks to keep up the momentum for peace negotiations.

The phone calls came days after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended a three-year void and met in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Details of Obama's calls were expected later in the day.

The Israeli and Palestinian negotiators gave themselves about nine months to try to reach an agreement on ending their long-running conflict.

The talks are expected to go to a second round by the middle of August. The conflict has resisted all previous attempts to resolve it, which has led to skepticism about whether this round will have a successful end.

WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, said Obama, in his call to Abbas, stressed his support to the efforts that led to launching the peace process and the need to exploit the current opportunity by acting fast to keep up the momentum.

Abbas stressed the Palestinian commitment to a two-state solution and the need to reach a solution in the nearest time possible, the report said.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Bill Trott and Eric Beech

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