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Obama: U.S. supports two-state solution
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21:47, June 04, 2009

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U.S. President Barack Obama said in Cairo University on Thursday that the United States supports the two-state solution, which is in the interest of the world, but the Palestinians must abandon violence.

"The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met, through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security," he said, reiterating the widely accepted two-state solution.

The solution, outlined in the Road Map plan and the Saudi-proposed Arab Peace Initiative, has been snubbed by the right-leaning Israeli government.

Obama told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 18 to freeze all settlement construction, including the "natural growth" of existing ones. But the call fell on deaf ears of the hawkish leader, who has never paid lip service to the two-state plan since taking office in late March.

He managed to speak in a more balanced tone towards the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Describing the prosecution of Jews in history as "undeniable," he said "6 million Jews were killed (in World War II) ... denying that fact is baseless and hateful."

"America's strong bond with Israel... is unbreakable... it is based on cultural and historical ties," he added.

Meanwhile, he said the Americans "will not turn their backs" on the legitimate Palestinian state.

However, he urged Hamas, the militant group which controls the Gaza Strip, to "put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist."

He also pressurized Israel to halt the settlement construction in occupied lands, which is the major obstacle for the renewal of peace talks.

"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," he said, adding that "it's time for these settlements to stop."

"The Arab states must recognize the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities."

The initiative, which embodies the two-state guideline, was proposed by Saudi Arabia and adopted in the Arab summit held in Beirut in 2002. It offers the Arab acceptance of the Jewish state in exchange for an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders.

Source: Xinhua

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