The Palestinian Authority (PA) says further progress in indirect negotiations is needed before direct peace talks with the Israelis could start.
Acting PA chief Mahmoud Abbas "insists on the necessity of progress in indirect negotiations on core issues (borders, security) before going to direct negotiations," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP on Tuesday.
"The Palestinian leadership awaits answers on borders and security in order to know if it should undertake direct talks," he added.
The remarks came in response to a call by US President Barack Obama who expressed hope earlier in the day for the feuding side to start direct talks before the end of September.
After a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said he hoped progress towards direct negotiations from indirect "proximity talks" would render an October 1 deadline for ending a partial Israeli settlement freeze irrelevant.
"My hope is that once direct talks have begun, well before the moratorium has expired, that that will create a climate in which everybody feels a greater investment in success," he said.
Direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis broke down in December 2008 when Israel launched an all-out military offensive against the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians and leaving thousands more injured.
Indirect talks resumed in May via US mediator George Mitchell but have borne no fruit as yet despite Washington’s claims of "progress."
Palestinian sources, however, criticized the assertions as part of US efforts to make Netanyahu’s White House visit appear a success.