Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators will hold their second round of face-to-face talks within a week on January 9 in Amman, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.
"We are encouraged that they are both coming to the table, they are talking directly," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told
reporters in her daily briefing.
The two sides held their first high-level talks in more than a year in Amman on January 3, a gathering sponsored by the Quartet
of Middle East peace mediators -- the European Union, Russia,
the United Nations and the United States.
The Quartet on Septemer 23 called for the two sides to resume
talks with the aim of reaching a peace deal by the end of 2012.
The talks did not produce any breakthroughs. They were aimed at agreeing to terms under which the two sides' leaders --
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu -- could resume talks.
The major issues dividing the two sides include the borders of a Palestinian state, the fate of Jewish settlements on the
West Bank, the status of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian