'Obama proposed plan for peace deal within two years' a
United States President Barack Obama has presented to Egypt and Israel a plan for a two-state solution to be finalized within two years, the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.
A source in Cairo told the newspaper that Obama raised the plan with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the latter's visit to Washington last month. According to the report, the plan envisions a Middle East peace deal by 2011 and would encompass an agreement for a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu is expected to respond to the proposal within six weeks, a deadline set after Obama's address in Cairo. The Egyptian source said that Obama elaborated on the plan during his visit to Egypt last week in talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omer Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The Egyptian officials were implored to respond as soon as possible.
The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Obama had given himself a two-year deadline to reach a breakthrough on a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
The administration has been firm in its declarations that it would pursue a two-state solution and Obama has vowed to "change the conversation" with the Muslim world in order to widen the diplomatic circle involved in the peace process.
Netanyahu's confidants have said that the prime minister believes that Obama wants a confrontation with Israel, based on Obama's speech in Cairo last week.
In Netanyahu's opinion, the Americans believe an open controversy with Israel would serve the Obama administration's main objective of improving U.S. relations with the Arab world, the aides say.
In his speech, Obama called for a "new beginning" in relations between America and Islam, and spoke at length about the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Meanwhile, U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell was in Israel on Tuesday for talks with leaders in Jerusalem. The meetings were expected to focus on the U.S.' demand that Israel freeze construction in West Bank settlements. Mitchell was also likely to raise the issue of resuming peace negotiations with Syria.