Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat will meet here next week with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a bid to try to breathe new life into stalled peace talks, a US official said Friday.
Clinton had already met with Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho and "she'll see Erakat next week," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The top US diplomat had also talked two days ago with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and separately with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
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"All of this is further to encouraging them to build on the exchange of letters and continue to take the next step toward the table," Nuland told journalists.
"We're trying to improve the atmosphere so that we can make progress and get them back to the table."
While direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain in deep freeze, top officials from both sides have been holding a quiet dialogue on a range of issues, including an exchange of letters between Netanyahu and Abbas.
Envoys from the Middle East Quartet met in Brussels on Friday amid calls from the Palestinians to step up action to halt continuing Israeli settlement activity.
Officials from the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia gathered "to consult as they routinely do over the phone as well", said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.