06/30/2010, 00.00
MIDDLE EAST – UNITED STATES
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For Obama and Abdullah, two states for two peoples, basis of Mideast peace

The Saudi king and US president says the two-state solution is the only one that will bring peace, by guaranteeing a homeland for Palestinians and greater security for Israel.
Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “Two states” for “two peoples” is the only solution that will bring peace to the Middle East; it will guarantee Palestinians a homeland and strengthen Israel’s security, US President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah said in Washington. The Saudi monarch is in the United States on an official visit, the first since the new US administration took over. The two leaders also discussed Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, stressing several times the ties of “friendship” between the two countries.

Arab nations are troubled by Obama’s failure to gain any concessions from Israel, which has pursued its settlement policy in the West Bank, and raised international tensions with its attack against a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The US president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in the White House.

Obama and King Abdullah discussed various strategic issues, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as "the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state."

However, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said earlier on Tuesday that problems with the talks, and divisions among the Palestinians, meant no Palestinian state would be founded by 2012.

Obama and King Abdullah "expressed their hope that proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians will lead to the resumption of direct talks with the aim of two states living side-by-side in peace," the White House said.

King Abdullah only spoke briefly after their meeting, thanking Obama for his hospitality and praising the friendship between their two countries.

"I would like to say to the friendly American people that the American people are friends of Saudi Arabia and its people, and they are friends of the Arab and Muslim people," Abdullah said through an interpreter, something the Washington Post underscored several times.

The meeting between US and Saudi leaders was also marked by a major change in communication approach. Arab News reported that Saudi Arabia's Washington Embassy used popular social networking site Twitter to give updates during the king's visit. In addition, the embassy has put its social media content to YouTube.

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