Obama sees opportunity for Mideast peace talks

Updated: 2013-04-12 11:15


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that there is "a window of opportunity" for the Israelis and the Palestinians to restart peace talks.

The president expressed optimism after meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the White House and after his top envoy John Kerry just concluded his latest visit to the Middle East.

"There is at least a window of opportunity for both Israelis and Palestinians to get back to the peace table," Obama told reporters with Ban sitting beside him.

"And we explored how the United States, as a strong friend of Israel and a supporter of a Palestinian state, can work with the United Nations and other multilateral bodies to try to move that process forward," Obama said.

Obama visited Israel and the occupied West Bank last month, and Secretary of State Kerry revisited the region earlier this week, his third in less than three weeks.

Ban said he "really" appreciated Obama's initiative to visit the region. "We need to do more of our efforts to fully utilize the generated momentum by President Obama's visit so that a two- state solution can be successfully implemented as soon as possible, " he added.

The United Nations is part of the Mideast Quartet peacemaking group that also includes the United States, the European Union and Russia.