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August 4, 2009


Arab leaders, on U.S. visits, put onus on Israel

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two visiting Arab leaders sought to ratchet up diplomatic pressure on Israel in Washington on Monday after Saudi Arabia accused the Jewish state of not being serious about peace with the Palestinians.

Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who met President Barack Obama, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Joudeh, who saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both put the onus on Israel for reviving stalled peace moves.

Israel has made clear its position that the Palestinians and Arab states that support them must first do more to help advance the peace process.

“I affirmed to President Obama that we are interested in bringing about peace in the Middle East,” the emir told reporters as he sat down with Obama at the White House.

“It is in our interest that peace be brought about. And the indicator is that the recent Arab peace initiative that was agreed upon by all of the Arab parties and states, and we would implement this peace initiative when Israel implements and fulfills its obligations,” he added.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, during a U.S. visit on Friday, rejected U.S. pleas to improve ties with Israel as a way of jump-starting regional peace talks, saying Israel must decide “if it wants real peace, which is at hand, or if it wants to continue obfuscating.”

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