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Obama 'committed' to two-state solution for Israel, Palestinians

SHARM EL SHEIKH: US President Barack Obama is “committed” to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday on the stalled Middle East peace process.

“The position of the United States with respect to our long expressed hope, the Republicans and the Democrats alike (and) many presidents of the last 50 years or more, has always been for peace and President Obama remains committed to a two-state solution,” Kerry said at a news conference in Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Kerry said that Obama was “hopeful that whatever choice people of Israel make… (they) will be able to move forward on those efforts”.

The top US diplomat said he would not like to comment more on the issue only a few days before an Israeli general election.

Final opinion polls have put Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party four seats behind its centre-left rival the Zionist Union for Tuesday’s vote.

Palestinians are keen for a change from Netanyahu, hoping for a more suitable partner for future peace talks.

On Friday, Kerry held talks on the peace process with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The four discussed creating an environment to “push forward the peace process to reach a comprehensive and just peace in the region,” Sisi’s office said after they met.

Kerry led a bid last year to try to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but his efforts collapsed amid bitter recriminations by both sides.

Last month the United States voiced fears the Palestinian Authority may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls. -AFP

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