US President Barack Obama said Friday he saw "enormous hurdles" ahead of peace talks between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but affirmed US commitment and said the risk was worth taking.
REUTERS - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday he saw "enormous hurdles" ahead in Middle East peace negotiations, but said it was a risk worth taking and the United States would remain engaged even if talks break down.
"There are enormous hurdles between now and our endpoint," Obama said at a news conference.
Obama said the talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who are due to meet again in Egypt on Sept. 14-15, represented a chance to realize the goal of an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace with a secure Israel.
"The two parties need each other. That doesn't mean it's going to work. Ultimately it's going to be up to them," Obama said.
"I remain hopeful but this is going to be tough," Obama said. "It's a risk worth taking because the alternative is a status quo that is unsustainable. And so if these talks break down, we're going to keep on trying."
Obama said he had told Netanyahu that it made sense to extend a moratorium on settlement construction for as long as Middle East talks are constructive.
Obama said a successful peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians could "change the strategic landscape in the Middle East" and help U.S. efforts to pressure Iran over its
"This is something in our interests. We're not just doing this to feel good. We're doing it because it will help secure America as well."
Date created : 2010-09-10