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    Obama steps in for Mideast peace, invites leaders for talks

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    22.04.2009 - 10:49 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL / WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama invites Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian leaders to Washington in a bid "to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East," his spokesman said Tuesday.

    Obama wants to meet separately with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming weeks for consultations on the peace process, Robert Gibbs told reporters, according news agencies.


    Reuters said the talks are expected to take place by early June. AFP said the visits are likely to take place before Obama is scheduled to visit Normandy for the annual D-Day commemoration in June.


    "With each of them the president will discuss ways the United States can strengthen and deepen our partnerships with them, as well as the steps all parties must take to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab States," Gibbs added, the wires reported.


    After his inauguration on January 20, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named George Mitchell as the special envoy for Arab-Israeli peace, a move analysts said signals constant and focused high-level involvement.


    Obama's predecessor George W. Bush largely left the peace process to his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after they convened a conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007 to relaunch the negotiations after a seven-year hiatus.


    The new administration earlier reaffirmed the commitment to the Annapolis process which calls for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


    Washington is expected to take a more proactive role in the process especially after Netanyahu's new government signaled it will resist the two-state solution.



    Obama held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Oval Office on Tuesday, the first meeting of the new president with a Middle Eastern leader in Washington.


    After meeting the Jordanian king, Obama said: "My hope would be that over the next several months ... you start seeing gestures of good faith on all sides.


    "I don't want to get into the details of what those gestures might be, but I think that the parties in the region probably have a pretty good recognition of what intermediate steps could be taken as confidence-building measures," Obama was quoted as saying by the AFP.


    The Jordanian King also vowed to work for Middle East peace. "We've had some very fruitful discussions this morning with President Obama," Abdullah told reporters as he began talks with Clinton.


    "We're at the State Department now to go over the priorities that Jordan and Arab countries will put in front of themselves of how to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and hopefully open a new chapter of peace and stability in the Middle East and move the peace process forward," he added, according to the AFP.


    Clinton reiterated the Obama administrations backing for a "search for peace that would result from a two-state solution in the Middle East."


    She said she and the Jordanian king were in "total agreement" for a two-state solution.


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