Abbas, Netanyahu shake hands as Obama calls to ”find a way forward”

Published September 22nd, 2009 - 06:54 GMT

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to do more, saying it was time to "find a way forward." Obama brought together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas for their first three-way meeting.

 

"Simply put, it is past time to talk about starting negotiations," Obama said. "It is time to move forward."

 

Obama used the occasion of a U.N. General Assembly session to arrange the get-together. Neither Netanyahu nor Abbas spoke during the brief appearance before reporters as the meeting got under way. According to the AP, the three-way sit-down started about an hour late, after Obama had met individually with both men.

 

Obama said everyone has "worked tirelessly" but still not done enough. To Palestinians, he said they must build on progress on halting terrorism and "do more to stop incitement."

 

As for Israelis, he hailed their moves to increase Palestinians' freedom of movement and their discussions about freezing Jewish settlement-building in the West Bank. But, said Obama, Israeli officials "need to turn these discussions into real action."

 

Despite all the obstacles, Obama said, "We have to find a way forward."

 

 

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