White House describes ‘progress’ in Jordan talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration heralded progress in Israeli-Palestinian talks held under Jordanian auspices.

"We believe that those talks offer the parties a real opportunity to make meaningful progress towards peace," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday ahead of a visit by Jordanian King Abdullah II. "So we support this progress, but we obviously recognize that there’s a long road to travel here to get to a final result."

Israeli and Palestinian officials have said the talks have barely advanced since their launch in Amman earlier this month, with divisions on whether to freeze settlement building still deeply entrenched.

Later Tuesday, after a joint meeting, President Obama praised Abdullah for his role in cajoling the sides back to talks, which had been suspended since October 2010.

"We talked about the importance of us continuing to consult closely together to encourage the Palestinians and the Israelis to come back to the table and negotiate in a serious fashion a peaceful way forward," he said. "And the Jordanians have taken great leadership on this issue, and we very much appreciate their direction on this issue."

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