Obama Meets With Jordanian King
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
President Obama sat down today at the White House with the king of Jordan. They talked about the popular unrest in the Middle East, the king's promised reforms and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On that last point, the Obama administration is still debating what to do.
NPR: Israeli's prime minister.
MICHELE KELEMEN: President Obama gave Jordan's King Abdullah a boost on the home front, saying the U.S. will provide food aid and financial assistance to help stabilize the cost of living while the government implements promised reforms. He also said he agrees with King Abdullah that in the midst of the changes sweeping through the Middle East, it's more vital than ever to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
BARACK OBAMA: Jordan, obviously, with its own peace with Israel, has an enormous stake in this. The United States has an enormous stake in this. We will continue to partner to try to encourage an equitable and just solution to a problem that has been nagging the region for many, many years.
KELEMEN: President Obama is likely to hear a very different message later in the week from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli's ambassador here, Michael Oren, says Israel has been ready and willing to talk with the Palestinians, but there's a new twist to consider.
MICHAEL OREN: It's very difficult to renew talks when, A, the Palestinians have refused to sit down with us, and now, B, further, now, they're making a national unity government with Hamas, which is recognized both by the United States as well as by the European Union as a terrorist organization that's openly committed to Israel's destruction.
KELEMEN: In an interview, Ambassador Oren made clear that Israel also does not like the Palestinian plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly in September to recognize an independent state of Palestine, but he gave no indication that Netanyahu would come with any new diplomatic initiative to counter this move.
OREN: The Palestinians have to make a choice. Their choice is between peace and terror. We're offering them the opportunity to make peace. If they're committed to declaring their state unilaterally, which will not bring about peace, then there's little we can do.
KELEMEN: Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Washington.
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