7 Jul 2010

US, Israeli leaders urge direct mid-East talks

3:28 pm on 7 July 2010

United States President Barack Obama has urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks before a settlement freeze expires in September.

Speaking after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Obama said he believed Israel was committed to achieving peace in the Middle East.

He said he hoped direct peace talks would resume well before Israel's 10-month moratorium on building new settlements in the West Bank expired at the end of September, the BBC reports.

For his part, Mr Netanyahu said it was "high time" for direct talks with Palestinians.

However, a spokesman for the Palestinian Peoples Party Gassan Khatib says Israel is delaying the peace process.