Undeterred by the failed efforts of his predecessors to clinch an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, US President Barack Obama is planning on getting more involved directly in the negotiations.
According to The New York Times, the president is expected to appeal to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to adopt a framework plan for final-status peace negotiations.
According to the report published Thursday, administration officials said this week the US president was gearing to take more of an active role in the process when he first meets Netanyahu on Monday, and later in March with Abbas.
During the respective meetings, Obama was reportedly expected to press the leaders of the two sides to agree to the framework document that is being drafted by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Now is a very timely opportunity for him to get involved,” a senior US official said on condition of anonymity.
Officials said now was the time for Obama to directly involve himself in talks as the April deadline is nearing for the current round of negotiations and major hurdles apparently remain between the sides.
“The president wouldn’t want to run any risk that it was the lack of his involvement that would make the difference between success and failure,” an official told the Times.
However, Israeli official on Wednesday said Obama was not expected to present Netanyahu with the much-discussed framework document.
The comments come despite some speculation that Obama would unveil the document during his scheduled meeting with Netanyahu in the White House on Monday. The officials said it was unlikely Washington would roll out the paper before Obama also meets with Abbas.
The Palestinians announced earlier this week that Obama had invited Abbas to visit Washington next month, though no final date was reported. Abbas met twice last week in Paris with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry has been working with the sides since November on the document that would serve as the basis for continuing the talks that began in July.
Netanyahu may meet with Kerry in Washington as well. Both men are to address the annual policy conference of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington next week.