Obama seeks support for new Middle East peace push
Friday 05 June 2009
President Barack Obama today called for a fresh international effort to create a Palestinian state as the path to Middle East peace.
It is time "for all of us to redouble our efforts. The moment is now for us to act," he declared.
Mr Obama said: "The United States can't force peace upon the parties." But he said America has "at least created the space, the atmosphere, in which talks can restart."
The president announced he was dispatching special envoy George Mitchell back to the region next week to follow up on his speech in Cairo yesterday in which he called for both Israelis and Palestinians to give ground in the stand-off.
Mr Obama said Israel must live up to commitments it made under the so-called "Road Map" peace outline to stop constructing settlements and the Palestinians must control violence-inciting acts and statements.
Fresh from visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Mr Obama said that while regional powers and the entire international community must help achieve peace, responsibility ultimately falls to Israelis and Palestinians to reach an accord.
"I think the moment is now for us to act on what we all know to be the truth, which is each side is going to have to make some difficult compromises," he said.
He renewed his call for Israel to halt West Bank settlement activity and follow through on such previously made commitments, adding: "I recognise the very difficult politics in Israel of getting that done and I'm very sympathetic to how hard that will be." He also pressed Palestinians anew to stop anti-Israel rhetoric, saying that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "has made progress on this issue, but not enough."
He spoke after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dresden.
Later he toured the Buchenwald concentration camp, where an estimated 56,000 people perished. Thousands were Jews - worked to death, shot or hanged by Nazi guards.
Mr Obama is the first US president to visit Buchenwald, and the stop was personal. A great-uncle helped liberate a nearby satellite camp, Ohrdruf, in early April 1945 just days before other US Army units overran Buchenwald.
Ohrdruf no longer stands. But Buchenwald's main gate, crematorium, hospital and two guard towers have been kept as a memorial.
Accompanying Mr Obama to the site was Elie Wiesel, a 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, author and Holocaust survivor.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...