David Cameron pressed for the urgent resumption of Middle East peace negotiations in talks at 10 Downing Street with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

David Cameron welcomes Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to Downing Street

David Cameron welcomes Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to Downing Street

Downing Street said Mr Abbas “expressed his readiness” to return to talks with Israel, weeks after the most recent round ended in failure.

Both sides blame the other for the collapse, which came afterIsrael approved new settlement building and Mr Abbas announced a reconciliation deal with Hamas.

Mr Abbas is due to talk with US secretary of state John Kerry tomorrow while they are both in London for a Syria summit.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “President Abbas outlined his plans for a new, technocratic Palestinian Government, committed to the Quartet principles, including non-violence and the recognition of Israel.

“He also expressed his readiness to resume peace talks with Israel and his hope that this could be achieved rapidly.

“The Prime Minister reiterated our support for a two-state solution and the UK’s support to the Palestinian Authority. He urged progress towards securing the rapid resumption of peace talks, which remain the only viable route to a lasting solution.

“The Prime Minister also expressed his desire to build on the economic progress in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the West Bank.”

Mr Cameron met Mr Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the Middle East in March.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, speaking after his own talks with the Palestinian president, said: “As always, I am in admiration of President Abbas for his courage and determination to maintain talks on the peace process.

“The UK remains fully behind the effort to create a strong and stable sovereign Palestinian state and a safe and secure Israel. Peace is the only solution, and I urge all sides to overcome the barriers in the way of that.

“I share the President’s ongoing concerns about the need to halt the building of new settlements.

“We continue to throw our full support behind the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations process, with a view to securing a real and lasting peace for the region.”