The United State criticized on Wednesday a call by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for government ministries to halt contact with their Palestinian counterparts.

"We are certainly aware of the announcement. We regard it as unfortunate," AFP quoted US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying.

Netanyahu issued the order in response to what an Israeli government official called the "Palestinian's grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks."

The State Department urged both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to take steps "conducive for peace," as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met in Washington.

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