Top US diplomat John Kerry regretted the resignation of Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad and urged Palestinians Sunday to find the right person to take on the tough job and work with the US.
Fayyad quit after months of tensions with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and only days after talks with Kerry who visited Israel and the Palestinian territories last week seeking to map out the contours of a new peace plan.
"Would I prefer that he weren't leaving? Sure, because you have continuity," Kerry told reporters travelling with him on a 10-day overseas trip, describing Fayyad as a "good friend" who had "made a huge difference".
But he said that: "In order to be a viable government, there's got to be more than one person that you can do business with.
"So we will continue to work with this, and hope that president Abbas finds the right person to work with him in a transition and to work with us, and establish confidence."
Washington however remained "totally committed" to seeking to revive the moribund peace process, and also to Kerry's new plans for an economic revival of the West Bank.
The US secretary of state, who was in Tokyo on the last stop of his trip, said he would be meeting with the special Middle East envoy for the quartet on his return home on Monday night.
Kerry said he believed both "parties are very serious right now" about moving forward, adding "we are still on track in the strategy that I want to pursue", but stressed "there was still homework" to be done.