Obama hopes to present Mideast peace next month
American President Barack Obama told visiting Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Tuesday that his administration hopes to introduce a new Middle East peace plan next month, Mubarak's spokesman said. "Today Mr. Obama said that hopefully... the peace blueprint should be there in the course of next month, in September, along the lines of the opening of the new session of the GA (UN General Assembly)," presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad was quoted as saying by AFP.
During the meeting at the White House, Obama said he is encouraged by progress in American efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Obama was responding to a question about reports that the Israeli government has decided not to approve new building tenders in West Bank settlements.
"The Israeli government has taken discussions with us very seriously," Obama said, adding that he was "encouraged by what I am seeing on the ground." "All parties," he said, "have to take steps to restart serious negotiations." That, he said, included Palestinians efforts to end the incitement of violence against Israel.
"We are moving in the right direction," said Mubarak, "and the Arab states are ready to help if the Israelis and the Palestinians returned to peace talks."
According to the AP, Mubarak said the settlement issue was central to a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks and a wider warming of ties between Israel and the Arab world.
Mubarak added he had told the Israelis that they must "forget temporary solutions or temporary borders."