Tags: obama mideast talks

Obama Goes Out on A Limb for Middle East Talks

Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010 09:15 AM


After 18 months of faltering efforts to launch Middle East peace negotiations, President Obama is dramatically increasing his personal stake and his own political risk by hosting direct talks today, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama personally helped coax Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to come to Washington to meet with him Wednesday and resume talks the next day.

Some of Obama's advisors have questioned the wisdom of linking the president so visibly with such an intractable conflict. But the president stepped up his personal involvement over the summer, holding face-to-face meetings and follow-up phone calls with Abbas and Netanyahu.

Few believe the announced goal of completing a peace deal within a year is realistic, but Abbas resisted joining the talks until the White House and the Israelis agreed to the one-year goal.

Many insiders and outside experts say that if the talks remain on track, it will be because Obama is personally applying pressure to push them forward.

"This time, the White House has to be more active, more robust and more devoted," said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's ambassador to the United States. "We have seen gatherings like this before.... This time we need a serious approach."

Read the entire story at latimes.com

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