World Bulletin / News Desk
President Barack Obama and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday maintained that they remain committed to Mideast peace despite the process’ hiatus and continued regional instability.
“It's no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas,” Obama said before meeting Netanyahu in the Oval Office. “We'll have an opportunity to discuss how we can blunt the activities of ISIL, Hezbollah, other organizations in the region that carry out terrorist attacks.”
The meeting was the first face-to-face between the leaders in more than a year. During that time, tensions have mounted as Israel has continued controversial settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, aggravating the Obama administration, and Netanyahu has voiced sharp criticism of the American president’s efforts to broker a nuclear pact with Iran.
Netanyahu has called the agreement between Tehran and world powers an “historic mistake”, arguing that the Islamic republic would use it to covertly acquire a nuclear bomb.
Obama acknowledged Netanyahu’s objections, saying it is “no secret” that there is “strong disagreement” on the issue, but said priority should be on ensuring Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and “blunting” the country’s “destabilizing activities”.
Even as the leaders sought each other’s counsel on regional developments, growing violence within Israel and Palestine have raised concerns about the beginning of a third Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
“I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli prime minister emphasized that he remains “committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state”.
Obama added that he will seek Netanyahu’s “thoughts on how we can lower the temperature between Israeli and Palestinians, how we can get back on a path towards peace, and how we can make sure that legitimate Palestinian aspirations are met through a political process, even as we make sure that Israel is able to secure itself”.Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2015, 09:10