U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns has told new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas that the creation of a Palestinian state is a top priority for the United States.
Mr. Burns made the comment during today's (Monday's) talks on the so-called "road map" to peace with Israel that was released last week.
The meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah came one day after Mr. Burns discussed the peace plan with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The U.S. envoy says Palestinians must fight against terrorism and Israelis must stop settlement activity in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip if they want to advance the cause of peace.
After nightfall Monday, Israeli medical officials say Palestinian gunfire killed an Israeli settler and wounded his daughter in the West Bank.
Mr. Burns' talks are laying the groundwork for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's upcoming trip to the region.
The international road map for peace outlines steps that Israel and the Palestinians must take to resolve their long-standing conflict. The plan calls for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel by the end of 2005.