Israel and Palestinians agreed to start direct peace talks in Washington in early September. Earlier on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington on September 2 to relaunch negotiations on peace settlement. The Quartet of mediators in the Middle East peace process, comprising Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, issued a similar call on Friday. It also urged the Israeli and Palestinian sides to avoid inflammatory rhetoric and show mutual restraint. The Israeli premier on Friday signaled his readiness to attend the talks, adding that although reaching a deal would be difficult, it was possible. A similar response came early on Saturday from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people on the international arena. "The PLO Executive Committee accepted Friday night to re-launch the direct negotiations to solve all the final status issues as well US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invitation to attend the meeting in Washington at the beginning of September," the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Saturday. "The Executive Committee said that the acceptance is based on the Middle East Quartet statement that called for re-launching the direct talks," WAFA added. The organization, led by Abbas, warned that ongoing Israeli settlement activity "consequently threatens the continuity of direct Negotiations." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed, also invited by Clinton to attend the talks, confirmed his participation, Egypt's MENA news agency reported on Saturday. "Mubarak accepted U.S. President Barack Obama's invitation to take part in the launch of direct talks early next month in Washington ," the agency said. Jordan's King Abdullah II, who has also received the U.S. invitation, is yet to confirm his participation. Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. The Palestinians have so far cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as the main obstacle to resuming peace talks.