Obama says Netanyahu’s speech an important step forward

June 15th, 2009 - 12:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Jerusalem, June 15 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has expressed his support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s endorsement of the goal of a Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel as expressed in the Likud leader’s Bar Ilan speech.

Refraining from remarking on the demand for an American guarantee of the Palestinian entity being demilitarised, “President Obama welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

“The President is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples. He believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel’s security and the fulfilment of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of that goal,” The Jerusalem Post quoted the statement, as saying.

“The President will continue working with all parties - Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Arab states, and our Quartet partners - to see that they fulfill their obligations and responsibilities necessary to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a comprehensive regional peace,” it concluded.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has supported for the first time the principle of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but on condition that the state was demilitarized and the Palestinians recognized Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

Netanyahu made the call during a major policy speech about his Middle-East peace making intentions.

He reversed his longstanding opposition to Palestinian statehood, a move seen as a concession to American pressure after President Barack Obama’s address in Cairo on June 4.

The Israeli premier firmly rejected American demands for a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the subject of a rare public dispute between Israel and its most important ally on an issue seen as critical to peace negotiations, the New York Times reported. (ANI)

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