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PLO officials say expectations low for Obama visit

Feb. 12, 2013 10:36 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 8:49 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian officials said Tuesday that the upcoming visit by US President Barack Obama is unlikely to aid the peace process.

Obama plans to visit the region in spring, a White House official said last week, in his first trip to the region since taking office.

Secretary-General of Palestinian People's Party Bassam al-Salhi told Ma'an that the visit may create the "illusion" of returning to negotiations, but would have no impact on the peace process as Israel has consistently violated its principles, with US complicity.

Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen added that negotiations can only take place once Israel fulfills its previous commitments under international law and stops settlement construction on occupied land.

President Obama must put words into action and present concrete solutions for the conflict, President Abbas' communications adviser Sabri Saidam said.

The Palestinian leadership welcomed the news last week that Obama would be visiting the region, but added that there needs to be "real US pressure on Israel rather than meetings," and a new US policy for the conflict.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that Obama will not propose any "specific" Middle East peace proposal during his visit, but said the issue would be raised with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

US-brokered negotiations collapsed in 2010 over the issue of continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
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