Obama meets with Arab Americans before Mideast trip
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President Barack Obama met with Arab American
leaders March 11 ahead of his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force for Palestine, said the White House meeting lasted about an hour, and much of it was in the form of questions and answers. He said there were about a dozen participants.
Obama’s remarks were off the record, but participants could describe their own comments.
“The United States, through sustained, balanced, constructive engagement, can facilitate a peaceful, lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — a resolution that is essential to long-term security in the Middle East,” said a joint statement from the American Task Force for Palestine, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab American Institute and the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine.
The statement added that the groups “look forward to using this meeting as a springboard for robust ongoing conversations on U.S. policy in the Middle East.”
Asali said he stressed in the meeting the importance of renewing Israeli-Palestinian talks.
“Over the last period there has been a lot of deterioration, and the tide has to be stemmed,” Asali said.
In a similar meeting last week with Jewish groups, Obama said the prospects for renewing such talks were not good right now but did not count out returning to the process within a year. — jta
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