Obama, Abbas to meet soon: White House

08:23, May 28, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the White House on June 9, in a bid to push the Palestinian leader to speed up the peace process with Israel.

"The President looks forward to reviewing with President Abbas the progress so far in Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks, and how the United States can work with the parties to transition to direct talks," said a White House statement.

The two leaders are expected to discuss "continuing effort to work cooperatively to develop the institutions that can advance the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support the establishment of a Palestinian state," said the statement.

Obama's top assistant Rahm Emanuel, who was in Israel for his son's bar mitzvah this week, has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a personal meeting with Obama next week in the White House.

Under the pressure mounted by the Obama administration, the Israeli government and the PNA resumed their talks early this month, although in an indirect way mediated by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, ending a 17-month-long stalemate.

Obama has urged both sides to resume direct talks in order to reach a permanent agreement that leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. But the two sides refused the call because of dispute over Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Chairman Abbas insists that the talks shall not resume until the Israeli government totally freezes the Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, while the Israeli side blames Abbas of setting condition for resuming the talks and vows to ensure the "natural growth" of the Jewish settlements.

At least 450,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:intern1)

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