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Obama presses Abbas on direct talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that direct discussions with Israel were an "important contribution to the cause of peace."

"The two leaders agreed on the necessity of the two-state solution, and President Obama noted that Jordan’s efforts to foster direct discussions between Israel and the Palestinians are an important contribution to the cause of peace," a White House statement said Monday.

The Palestinian Authority has resisted a return to direct talks as long as Israel does not freeze settlement building. 

"They also discussed the ongoing need to build trust between the parties and for all sides to refrain from provocative actions that make it more difficult to build such trust," the statement said.

"Provocative actions" usually refers both to Israel’s settlement building and to attempts by the Palestinians to achieve statehood recognition in the absence of peace talks with Israel.

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