Obama backs Middle East peace talks

President Barack Obama lent his weight to a fresh American initiative to hammer out a Middle East peace deal within nine months, meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Obama, who travelled to Israel in March for his first visit to the region as president, met with Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat.

It was not immediately clear if US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has cajoled the two sides back to the negotiating table after a three-year hiatus, was also attending.

Earlier, Livni and Erekat met at the State Department for bilateral talks as moves to push the peace negotiations forward gather steam.


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