updated 4/12/2009 11:51:14 AM ET 2009-04-12T15:51:14

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the Palestinian president he wants to cooperate to drive peace efforts forward.

Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas spoke by phone today, for the first time since the Israeli leader took office. Netanyahu's office described the conversation as "warm and friendly."

The Palestinian leadership wants Israel's unambiguous endorsement of the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has refused to support the internationally backed two-state solution. Abbas has said there is no reason to negotiate without it.

Netanyahu's foreign minister has dismissed previous U.S. peace efforts and says the previous Israeli government's endorsement of Palestinian statehood is not binding.

Netanyahu's office says Abbas called the Israeli leader to send him greetings for the Jewish Passover holiday.

Abbas' office said Sunday's brief call was a gesture of courtesy.

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