WASHINGTON — The next direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians will take place in Jordan on Monday, the US State Department said.
"The next meeting is now on Monday the 9th," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Thursday, confirming they will take place in the Jordanian capital Amman, as did a first round of talks earlier this week.
"The good news here is we do appear to be in a process where the parties will be meeting directly, and we hope that this will continue even beyond Monday the 9th," Nuland said.
Talks in Amman on Tuesday between Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho, sponsored by Jordan and the peacemaking Quartet, were the first direct discussions between the sides in more than 15 months.
A Palestinian official had suggested the meeting, which was described as positive but produced no breakthroughs, would be followed by a second round of talks on Friday, also in Amman.
But Israeli media reported the next meeting was not expected before next week, and Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, said only that a series of meetings was expected to follow Tuesday's talks.
That meeting came in the context of efforts by the Quartet, made up of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, to kick-start talks which ground to a halt shortly after they began in September 2010.
The group has called on both sides to present comprehensive proposals on borders and security before January 26, with an eye to resuming direct talks shortly afterwards.
However, there was little optimism about Tuesday's meeting on either side, with the Palestinians eager to insist that the talks were not an official resumption of negotiations.