Posted by USA Today on March 11, 2013 in News Clips
President Obama met on Monday at the White House with representatives from several Arab-American groups, huddling with the leaders as he prepares for his visit to the Middle East next week.
Obama will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan starting March 20. Obama held a similar meeting with Jewish-American groups last week.
Among the groups that attended Monday were the American Task Force for Palestine, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab American Institute and the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine.
"We are pleased to have shared with President Obama our recommendations for the vital message that he should convey to the Palestinian people," the groups said in a joint statement following the meeting.
"Today's meeting was an important opportunity for Arab Americans to share our views, and continue to serve as a bridge between the U.S. and the Arab world. Our meeting underscored the president's recognition of the importance of our community's contributions to discussions of policy in the region. "
The White House has downplayed any potential effort by Obama to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday that Obama's primary goals for his upcoming visit are to demonstrate his commitment to Israel's security and huddle with regional leaders about hot button issues in the Middle East.
Syria's ongoing civil strife has left tens of thousands of civilians dead, and Israel has repeatedly raised concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
"While the President is not going with any specific peace plan in hand, the president's views (are that) it's in the best interest of both parties, both Palestinians and the Israelis, to pursue a peace agreement," Earnest said.
At Monday's meeting, Obama "underscored the trip is an opportunity for him to demonstrate the United States' commitment to the Palestinian people – in the West Bank and Gaza – and to partnering with the Palestinian Authority as it continues building institutions that will be necessary to bring about a truly independent Palestinian state," according to the White House.
In his visit to Jordan, Obama is expected to highlight his support for political reform there as well as to discuss the situation in Syria.Original Article comments powered by Disqus