The United States continues implying efforts to restart direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the U.S. Department of State said, RIA Novosti reported.
"We continue to be in close contact with both parties. I would say we're working the phones and continuing to answer their questions, overcome the lack of trust that has built up over the years regarding this process, and get them to yes. It is an ongoing process," Philip Crowley, the department's assistant secretary, told a daily press briefing.
"We think we're close. Can't say whether today, we're closer than we were yesterday; we believe we're close and we're working aggressively to move them into direct negotiations," he added.
Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Palestinians have so far cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as a main obstacle to the peace process.