'Obama's ME speech won't focus on Israeli-PA talks'

Senior US official says upcoming address won't be used to launch new peace negotiations, 'Wall Street Journal' reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 14, 2011 18:32
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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US President Barack Obama's speech on the Middle East, scheduled for May 19, will not focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations nor will it serve as a launching pad for new talks, The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior US official as saying on Saturday.

The speech will instead address uprisings in the Arab world and how the killing of Osama bin Laden fits in with the current changes occurring in the Middle East, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

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Carney said the speech would be  "fairly sweeping and comprehensive," and would call on leaders subject to protests  to respond to demands for a peaceful dialogue.

On Friday, Obama announced the resignation of US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and named his deputy, David Hale, as his replacement for the time being.

Mitchell's departure comes ahead of Obama's expected speech laying out his new Middle East strategy and a visit to the White House by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on May 20.

Obama has recently made changes to his Middle East policy team and named Daniel Shapiro, a senior adviser who has helped shape the response to the Middle East upheaval, as his nominee to be the new US ambassador to Israel.

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