US Secretary of State John Kerry met Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jordan Friday to discuss resuming peace talks with Israel, officials said, with chances of an immediate breakthrough appearing slim before he leaves later on Friday.
The Palestinian leadership on Thursday did not accept Kerry's latest proposal to restart the talks that have been stalled since 2010, but signaled they were leaving the door open for him to continue his peace push.
Kerry, on his sixth peacemaking visit to the region since March, met Erekat in Amman to discuss Palestinian terms for restarting the talks. Kerry was due to fly back to the United States later on Friday.
He has given no details on where he believes the two sides might give ground, although after talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on Wednesday, he said the gaps had narrowed "very significantly".
A senior Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity said Erekat was expected to tell Kerry that the Palestinians appreciate his efforts and "call upon the United States to ask the two sides to resume negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution, recognizing the 1967 borders".
Israel has balked at the Palestinians' demands and says talks should start with no preconditions.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin said Friday that to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders would be "suicidal."
"A negotiation in which you first say what you are willing to give up ... is not the kind of negotiation that leads to good results in the Middle East," Elkin told Israel Radio.
US President Barack Obama spoke by telephone
on Thursday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and urged him to resume peace talks with Palestinians, the White House said in a statement.
The telephone call was part of regular consultations between the two leaders, the White House said.
"The President encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to continue to work with Secretary Kerry to resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible," the White House said, noting the leaders also talked about security issues in Egypt, Iran and Syria.
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