Washington (CNN) - The United States is urging diplomacy by the Mideast Quartet to help push a speedy resumption of direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.
"We are consulting with the Quartet and looking to see how we can encourage the parties to begin direct negotiations," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
His comments come as Special U.S. Envoy George Mitchell held what Crowley called a "serious and positive" meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday in an effort to persuade Abbas to launch direct talks. Mitchell is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
The parties are taking part in "proximity talks," in which Mitchell has been shuttling between the sides with little substantial progress.