Obama repeats commitment to Israel

| Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 07:33
First Published |

Obama repeats commitment to Israel

Washington: US President Barack Obama repeated on Friday that his commitment to the security of Israel "is and always will be unshakeable", and that he will not accept a "bad deal" with Iran concerning its nuclear programme.

"No administration has done more to ensure that Israel can protect itself than this one," Obama said in a speech to an audience of almost 1,200 people in the synagogue of the Adas Israel congregation, one of the largest in Washington.

Speaking of relations between the US and Israel, the president stressed "the values that we share", while adding that they should never be an obstacle to speaking out "honestly" about US differences with Israel over its conflict with the Palestinians or the negotiations of the 5+1 Group (US, France, Britain, China, Russia, Germany) with Iran.

Those negotiations with Iran are the chief cause of the tense relations that have existed for some time between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In that regard, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to reach a deal that "blocks every single one of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon".

After a preliminary agreement reached in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the final accord between the 5+1 Group and Iran should be reached before next June 30.

Obama insisted again on Friday on a two-state solution to ensure peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Two states for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," the president said.

The Obama administration recently announced that it would review its relations with Israel, in particular with regard to its conflict with the Palestinians.

Obama said in March that the US was weighing whether to support recognition of a state of Palestine in the UN Security Council, something Washington has opposed for decades.

The US decision to review its position at the UN was due to comments made by Netanyahu before his reelection in March, when he said there would be no state of Palestine as long as he was head of the government, a statement he retracted two days later. 

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