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President Obama Says Middle East Peace Talks Exceeded Expectations.

Summary: Washington, Shawwal 01, 1431 / Sept. 10, 2010, SPA -- US President Barack Obama said Friday that talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington last week "exceeded expectations," and he pledged to help both sides achieve a lasting peace. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin...

US President Barack Obama said Friday that talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington last week "exceeded expectations," and he pledged to help both sides achieve a lasting peace. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "came with a sense of purpose and seriousness and cordiality that frankly exceeded lots of people's expectations," President Obama told a White House news conference. President Obama noted that the two leaders affirmed the goal of creating two states living side by side and established a schedule to meet every two weeks. He said he hoped the regular meetings would help build trust that is necessary to understand each other's positions and make difficult concessions. However, "there are enormous hurdles between now and our endpoint," the US President said. "The two parties need each other. That doesn't mean it's going to work. Ultimately, it's going to be up to them." Asked if the United States is willing to step in if the talks near collapse, President Obama said the United States will encourage and facilitate the negotiations, but their fate will ultimately be decided by the two parties. "I remain hopeful, but this is going to be tough," he said. "It's a risk worth taking because the alternative is a status quo that is unsustainable. So if these talks break down, we're going to keep on trying." President Obama called on Israel to extend a freeze on settlement building in the occupied West Bank due to expire this month. "A major bone of contention during the course of this month is going to be the potential lapse of the settlement moratorium," he said. The President said he told Netanyahu last week that "it makes sense to extend that moratorium, so long as the talks are moving in a constructive way."

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Publication:Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
Date:Sep 11, 2010
Words:359
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