Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama invites Middle East leaders to Washington, DC

Yesterday, King Abdullah II of Jordan was in Washington, DC to start the Middle East peace process. Yes, Obama is continuing the "check mark" off the list.

Deepening his direct role in reviving stalled Middle East peace efforts, Mr Obama met King Abdullah on Tuesday and invited Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak for separate talks by early June.

The US president reassured King Abdullah of his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite reluctance by Mr Netanyahu’s new right-leaning government to support the idea of eventual Palestinian statehood.

In contrast to the more hands-off policy of George W Bush, Mr Obama reasserted his pledge to “deeply engage” in Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy.

“What we have to do is step back from the abyss,” he told reporters after meeting the Jordanian king at the White House.

He said a “sense of urgency” was needed to resuscitate the peace process and said he expected “gestures of good faith” to be made in coming months.

“I agree that we can’t talk forever, that at some point steps have to be taken so that people can see progress on the ground. And that will be something that we will expect to take place in the coming months,” Mr Obama said.

He said he was a “strong supporter of a two-state solution”, adding: “I have articulated that publicly, and I will articulate that privately. And I think that there are a lot of Israelis who also believe in a two-state solution.”


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