Obama hand in air, flag in background 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON — US
President Barack Obama said at a White House news conference Friday that
he has urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend the settlement
moratorium so long as the talks begun this month are bearing fruit.The talks are "a
risk worth taking," Obama said,
"because letting the four-decade conflict fester makes everyone less
pledged to help keep fast-track peace talks from breaking down, and
said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas knows "the window for
creating a Palestinian state is closing."
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There is no guarantee talks will succeed
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
"Israel is motivated by its
own desire for stability and secure borders,
and the Palestinians by the knowledge that their goal of an independent
homeland could be eclipsed by time and politics," Obama suggested.
Obama said the United States will stay involved, and that includes a
visit to the region by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week.