29 May 2009

Obama increases pressure on Israel

7:14 pm on 29 May 2009

US President Barack Obama says he is confident the stalled Middle East peace process can make progress.

Speaking after White House talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Mr Obama again urged Israel to freeze settlement expansion.

Israel has insisted it will allow existing settlements to expand, despite pressure from Washington.

President Obama also said Palestinians must rein in anti-Israeli violence.

For his part, Mr Abbas said he was committed to all obligations under the Mid-East peace plan "roadmap".

However, without a halt to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinians have said there can be no progress towards peace.

But Mr Obama stressed that Israel must stop expanding its West Bank settlements, and Palestinians must cease anti-Israeli violence.