Amman: No breakthroughs emerged on Wednesday from the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in more than a year, the foreign minister of host Jordan said, adding the two sides agreed to keep talking.
   
Talks have been stalled since late 2010 over the issue of Israeli settlement construction.
   
The minister, Nasser Judeh, said the talks were held in a positive atmosphere. Although there were no breakthroughs on matters of "substance," he said, "The important thing is the two sides have met face to face."
   
"We agreed that the discussions will be continuous," he said, "and will take place here in Jordan."

Resumption of any kind of contacts would be seen as an achievement, though the two sides remain far from agreement on key issues like borders, security, Palestinian refugees and settlements. The 15 months without negotiations have seen a progressive souring of the atmosphere, as Palestinians blame Israel for the deadlock and Israel charges the Palestinians with trying to delegitimise the Jewish state through propaganda campaigns and unilateral diplomatic initiatives.
   
The Israelis and Palestinians agreed to send their chief negotiators to Jordan under pressure from the "Quartet" of Mideast mediators - The US, UN, EU and Russia, though there was no sign either was softening its positions.
   
A diplomat who attended the larger meeting said the talks were "serious."
   
"It was a brainstorming session in which both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, showed eagerness to restart peace negotiations," the diplomat said. He declined to elaborate and insisted on anonymity, saying a public comment could adversely affect the sensitive meeting.
   
The Quartet has been working for months to restart peace talks. The international group hopes to broker a final peace agreement by the end of the year.

(Agencies)