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Obama urges Abbas to 'take risks' for peace

Published on Mar 18, 2014 9:56 AM
United States President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) at the White House in Washington on March 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama told Mahmud Abbas on Monday that the Palestinian leader and Israel's politicians must be prepared to make tough decisions and take "risks" for peace.

Abbas arrived at the White House two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that time was running short for a final deal and saying Israel could show it was serious by honouring a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners this month.

Obama, personally supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's exhaustive Middle East peace drive at a critical moment, is pressing both sides to accept a framework to carry negotiations past an end-of-April deadline.

"As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu when he was here just a few weeks ago, I believe that now is the time... to embrace this opportunity," Obama said.

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