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File Photo: Barack Obama

"I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings. This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead," Obama said hours before the negotiation was to resume between the two sides.

The negotiations in Washington scheduled to kick off on Tuesday will be attended by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho from Israel and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh.

"The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination. The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security," Obama said in a statement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed seasoned American diplomat Martin Indyk as the US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a day-to-day basis. "I am pleased that Ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the US negotiating team as US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations," Obama said.

Obama said during his March visit to the Middle East, he experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced his belief that peace is both possible and necessary.

(Agencies)

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