Updated, 11:06 a.m.
President Obama met at the White House Tuesday morning with negotiators from Israel and the West Bank who are in Washington for renewed peace talks brokered, an administration official said.
The president's personal involvement in the long-anticipated talks comes after the negotiating teams ate a post-Ramadan-fast dinner together at the State Department on Monday night and met separately with Secretary of State John F. Kerry. On Tuesday, the teams started the day with a session with special envoy for Middle East peace Martin Indyk, according to news reports.
Kerry was to brief reporters on the talks late Tuesday morning.
"We’re certainly encouraged that the two parties are coming to Washington and beginning their conversations this evening, but we’re also cognizant of the hard work that remains over the next nine months," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday. "There are some very serious issues that have to be resolved, and it’s not going to be easy."
Obama left Washington shortly before 11 a.m. for a visit to Chattanooga, Tenn., where he'll unveil an economic proposal that links lower corporate tax rates with money for job creation.
He declined to answer a question about the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that was shouted by a reporter as he boarded Marine One.