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Obama says he'll stay engaged in Mideast talks

Obama says he'll stay engaged in Mideast talks

President Barack Obama pledged Friday to help keep fast-track Mideast peace talks from breaking down, and said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas knows "the window for creating a Palestinian state is closing."
Obama said at a White House news conference Friday that he has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend a partial moratorium on Jewish homebuilding so long as the talks begun this month are bearing fruit.
Obama dined with both leaders at the White House last week to inaugurate the latest attempt to end the conflict. He said he is certain the negotiations will be difficult. But he said the leaders know they need a deal, and that they need one another.
"That doesn't mean it's going to work," Obama said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to them. We can facilitate. We can encourage. We can tell them that we will stand behind them."
The talks are "a risk worth taking," Obama said, because letting the four-decade conflict fester makes everyone less safe. Israel is motivated by its own desire for stability and secure borders, Obama suggested, and the Palestinians by the knowledge that their goal of an independent homeland could be eclipsed by time and politics.
Obama said the United States will stay involved _ and that includes a visit to the region by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton next week.
The U.S.-backed talks have set a goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state within one year.


Updated : 2021-05-14 13:00 GMT+08:00