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Obama promised Netanyahu to press EU leaders not to recognise Palestinian state

Aiming to calm down tensions, Obama has promised Netanyahu to lobby against recognition of a Palestinian state, sources say

Saleh Naami , Sunday 22 May 2011
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US President Barack Obama has promised Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he will travel this summer to Europe to convince EU leaders to reject recognition of an independent Palestinian state, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth said Saturday.

The Palestinians are preparing to ask the UN General Assembly in September to recognise an independent State of Palestine based on 1967 borders. Earlier, Netanyahu rejected a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders whereas Obama embraced the idea, creating a policy rift between the two.

Netanyahu is in Washington for talks with the US president. Sources reported that Netanyahu's Washington delegation said Friday that the Israeli prime minister had arrived for the meeting with Obama troubled and pessimistic, but that he left feeling encouraged.

“The meeting lasted for more than the 90-minutes scheduled. After the meeting Obama walked Netanyahu to his car and the two continued talking,” a source said. He added that Netanyahu made clear that Israel would not withdraw to the 1967 borders and "will not accept refugees or talk to Hamas. They can forget about it."

Another diplomatic official noted that Israel's harsh response to Obama's Mideast policy speech last week had “conveyed its message well.” He added that there is disagreement between Israel and the US, but that relations between the two countries remain good.

"Obama's behaviour during and after the meeting was very clear and showed that he was trying to calm the situation down. A private lunch was another way of reducing tension with Netanyahu," he added.

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