Obama says Middle East peace effort faces "enormous obstacles"
US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that enormous obstacles remained in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, dpa reported.
Obama acknowledged that the Middle East peace process suffered from "false starts and setbacks" but said the United States would leave no stone unturned.
"Israelis and Palestinians restarted direct talks, but enormous obstacles remain," Obama said in a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta.
"We will spare no effort in working for the outcome that is just and that is in the interest of all the parties involved: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," he said.
Obama, who has made the Middle East peace process a focus of his administration, warned that peace and security would not come easily and that the stakes were high in resolving the issue.
The US president said Tuesday that newly published Israeli plans to build more than 1,300 homes on Palestinian land would not help the Middle East peace process.
"This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations," he said at a news conference after talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono.
"I'm concerned that we're not seeing each side make the extra effort to get a breakthrough that could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side-by-side in peace with a sovereign Palestine," he said.
The announcement of the plans to build 1,345 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem has triggered a war of words between Israelis and Palestinians and endangered the fragile peace talks process.