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Obama urges Israel, Palestine to resume peace talks

  • U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.

    In a speech before Israeli students in Jerusalem on Thursday, Obama stated a sovereign Palestinian state was the "only path for true security" in Israel.

    He added that Palestinians had "a right to be a free people in their own land".

    Obama went on to say "the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine".

    He also discussed the building of Israeli settlements on land that Palestinians see as part of a future state.

    The issue of settlement building has been a major hurdle in the peace process, with Palestinians insisting it must cease before talks can resume.

    Earlier in the day in Ramallah, Obama called on Palestinians to forgo their demand, describing it as "counterproductive to the cause of peace".

    Obama’s three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank is his first as president.

    He is due to leave for Jordan later today.

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