US President Barack Obama kept up his push to revive direct Middle East talks as he spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about ways to advance the fragile peace process with Israel. Obama talked by telephone to Abbas three days after the U.S. leader met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House and agreed to speed up efforts to upgrade from indirect U.S.-mediated talks to face-to-face negotiations. Palestinian leaders remain wary because of Israeli settlement activity on land they want for an independent state and what they see as a insufficient progress in slow-moving "proximity" talks. Seeking to reassure Abbas and nudge him toward direct talks suspended since 2008, the White House said Obama praised the Palestinian leader for his "commitment to peace."