US Vice-President Joe Biden has said there is a “moment of real opportunity” for peace between the Palestinians and Israel during a visit to the region.
Joe Biden: “There is no space between the US and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security”
Mr Biden said he hoped the agreement to begin indirect talks would be a vehicle by which both sides could “allay that layer of mistrust that has built up”.
He made the comments during meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.
Hours before Mr Biden’s arrival, Israel enraged Palestinians by approving 112 new homes in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian officials accused Israel of trying to undermine the talks.
Mr Biden later discussed the peace process and Iran’s nuclear programme with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in Jerusalem says the US does not want Israel to take military action against Iran, which is much talked about there.
After the talks, Mr Biden stressed that the cornerstone of Washington’s relationship with Israel was an “absolute, total, unvarnished” commitment to its security, and reiterated its determination to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.