The chief Palestinian peace negotiator says the Palestinians are ready to extend the current talks with Israel beyond an April deadline — if there is a framework agreement in place.

The comments by Saeb Erekat mark the first time the Palestinians have endorsed the U.S. idea of seeking a preliminary — not final — peace deal.

Under U.S.-pressure, Israel and the Palestinians resumed negotiations last summer, agreeing to talk for nine months with the goal of a permanent peace agreement. With little progress so far, the Americans are now setting their sights on a preliminary deal.

Erekat said Wednesday that the framework would have to be a "detailed skeleton" addressing all core issues. If that is reached, he said talks could continue for several more months to complete the deal.