US president-elect Barack Obama telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and promised him that his administration would continue efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement sent to reporters overnight that in Tuesday's telephone conversation, the first since he was elected, Obama stressed his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel, reported dpa.
"Obama promised that he won't stop his efforts to push the peace process forward in order to reach a two-state solution," Erekat said. "He said he will work with both sides to achieve peace, which is an interest to all the parties."
The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, revived in November last year at an international peace conference in Annapolis in the US state of Maryland, have reached a stalemate.
While Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants an agreement that would sideline the highly sensitive issue of Jerusalem and leave it for later negotiations, Abbas has said he would not accept a partial settlement.
No progress was expected until after elections in Israel on February 10, called early because of Olmert's resignation in late September to fight corruption allegations.
Erekat said Obama's telephone conversation was evidence he is determined to help both sides reach a permanent peace agreement.