In calls, Obama commends Netanyahu, Abbas for renewed talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama called the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to commend the resumption of peace talks.

“President Obama called Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu today to commend his leadership and courage in resuming final status negotiations with the Palestinians,” a White House statement said on Thursday, three days after talks resumed in Washington for the first time since October 2010.

“The president underscored that while the parties have much work to do in the days and months ahead, the United States will support them fully in their efforts to achieve peace,” the letter said. “The two leaders agreed to continue the close coordination between the United States and Israel on this and other regional issues.”

The statement reporting the call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas similarly said that Obama had commended his “leadership and courage” and also that he “reaffirmed that the United States stands ready to support the parties in achieving a just and lasting peace based on the two state solution, and will continue to work closely with the Palestinian Authority to achieve this goal.”

The sides resumed talks this week after an intensive diplomatic effort led by John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state.