Obama Says "More Urgent than Ever" for Peaceful Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that it is "more urgent than ever" to seek a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "winds of change" are blowing through the Arab world.
"With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it's more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Obama told reporters after meeting with visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres at the White House.
Obama said that he and Peres had an "extensive discussion" about what has happened in the Middle East, and they shared the belief that this is "both a challenge and an opportunity."
Obama also said that Peres, whom he described as "an extraordinary statesman," "has some very interesting ideas around those issues." He did not elaborate.
Direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians have stalled since September last year as the Palestinians refuse to negotiate unless Israel stops settlement building in territory they claim for a future state.
On the eve of Peres' visit to the White House, Israeli officials approved new housing in the West Bank and a disputed part of Jerusalem.