Palestinians Deserve an Independent State, Says Obama

RAMALLAH, March 21, 2013 (WAFA) – United States President Barack Obama Thursday said that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.

Speaking at a joint press conference with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Obama stressed US commitment to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.

“The US remains committed to realizing the vision of two states, which is in the interest of the Palestinian people and Israelis,” he said.

Obama said while the Palestinian Authority continues to face financial difficulties, he is pleased that the US has been able to provide additional assistance to help boost its finances.

Though achieving the two states requires direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel to reach a sustainable solution, he admitted that the situation on the ground is difficult.

“The possibility continues to achieve the two state solution but it’s difficult because of political constrains on both sides,” Obama noted.

Obama affirmed that the US administration will continue to look for steps that both the Palestinians and Israelis can take to build the trust and confidence. “We can’t give up on the search for peace, no matter how hard it is.”

He said that Secretary of State John Kerry intends to spend time in closing the gap between both parties.

Obama said that he realized that one of the major obstacles is the settlement activity in the West Bank.

He stated to Israeli leaders that it is the United States policy that “we don’t consider continued settlement activity to be constructive, appropriate and something that can advance peace.”

He said, however, that “if everything is settled ahead of time, there is no point for negotiations.”

He said that to solve the problems of the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and the security of Israel, “then the problem of the settlements will be solved.”

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, I want to make sure that we are getting to the core and the substance issues,” he said.

Obama said that part of his goal in this visit was to hear from both sides on what they need and the path they think must be taken to achieve peace.

Abbas reiterated that the settlements in the West Bank are illegal and form an obstacle to the two-state solution.

“The Israeli government must halt settlement activity, then we can discuss other issues when we set the Palestinian and the Israeli state borders,” he said.

Abbas thanked the US for its support for the Palestinian economic, health, educational institutions and development projects and welcomed Obama in Ramallah.

Source: WAFA News