The Obama administration says the time has come for Israel and the Palestinians to begin direct peace negotiations without preconditions.
The State Department said Tuesday that several rounds of indirect discussions mediated by special Mideast envoy George Mitchell have gone as far as they can go. Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the two sides need to sit down together to air their grievances.
The U.S. and Israel have been calling for direct talks for some time, but the Palestinians have balked.
Crowley said Mitchell will return to the region in the coming days to press the matter further.
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