Obama calls for peace talks despite obstacles

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2011 1:07 PM
Obama calls for peace talks despite obstacles

President Barack Obama says peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are made more difficult by the participation of Iran-backed Hamas in the Palestinian government.

Obama says the announcement that Hamas will be part of a unity government with the Fatah organization "raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel" because of Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. The U.S. has also designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

In his speech at the State Department Thursday, Obama said that Palestinian leaders will have to address the complication of Hamas with credible answers.

But the president also said that despite all the suspicion and hostility, he's convinced the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want peace, and so negotiations must happen.