President Barack Obama made separate calls to both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, a senior White House official told NBC News, as the United States continues its support of peace negotiations.
This move comes shortly after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Washington, D.C. with Secretary of State John Kerry and just two days after Obama met with other officials on both sides to discuss ongoing peace talks.
On the call, Obama commended Netanyahu's "leadership and courage in resuming final status negotiations" with the Palestinians, according to the White House.
"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," read the statement released by the White House.
The call with Abbas proceeded in a similar fashion. Obama told the Palestinian leader "the United States stands ready to support the parties in achieving a just and lasting peace based on the two state solution," according to a statement from the White House.
The two sides are expected to negotiate for about nine months in hopes of reaching a heretofore elusive agreement on ending their long-running conflict.
First published August 1 2013, 3:15 PM