Itongadol.- Abbas says release of fourth batch of prisoners, including Israeli-Arabs, will show Israel\’s seriousness towards peace process.
US President Barack Obama on Monday urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make tough decisions and take risks for peace with Israel, saying he hoped to see progress in US-brokered negotiations in coming weeks.
The US leader was seeking to secure Abbas\’s agreement on a US framework to extend peace talks, which have so far lasted seven months but not made tangible progress, past an end-of April deadline.
"We\’re going to have to take some tough political decisions and risks if we\’re to move it forward," Obama said at the start of his Oval Office meeting with the Palestinian leader. "My hope is that we can continue to see progress in the coming days and weeks."
"As I said to Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu when he was here just a few weeks ago, I believe that now is the time …. to embrace this opportunity," Obama added. The US president met with the Israeli premier two weeks ago in Washington.
Abbas responded that he considers this a historic opportunity and he thanked Obama for economic and political support.
Obama said everyone understands what the contours of a peace deal look like – territory based on lands prior to their Israeli capture in 1967, with "mutually agreed upon swaps," that ensure the security of Israel and a sovereign state for Palestinians.