US President Barack Obama informed his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy that he plans to continue to pressure the Israeli government to resume peace talks with the Palestinians – even if this costs him in elections to Congress in November, al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted Israeli sources in Paris as saying.
The sources cited a western diplomat as saying the conversation between Obama and Sarkozy took place during the two's meeting on the sidelines of the Washington nuclear summit earlier this week.
It was further reported that the two leaders spoke extensively of the standstill in peace negotiations, and that Sarkozy said he does not understand the cause of the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, especially since both parties' stances have grown significantly close in recent years.
According to the report, Obama and Sarkozy agreed that the Israeli stance is what is causing failures in the peace process. At this point, Obama reportedly said, he is determined to invest all his efforts into restarting negotiations.
The Israeli sources quoted by the paper said Obama spoke of the US opposition's position on the matter, which encourages Israel to reject his efforts. He also addressed attempts by opposition elements to pressure the White House and democratic Congress members via pro-Israel bodies in the US, implying that American pressure on the Israeli government may cost the party in the upcoming elections.
The al-Sharq al-Awsat report stressed that Obama is determined to push forward with his efforts to renew talks, at all costs.
The paper reported that, according to its sources, Obama told Sarkozy: "Myself, and the entire American administration and all of Israel's friends around the world, are convinced that peace is an Israeli and Palestinian interest. But this is also in the interest of US security and the entire free world."
Recently, increasing calls have been heard in Washington urging Obama to soften his attitude towards Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After 327 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, demanding the crisis with Israel be resolved, earlier this week, 76 senators signed a letter to Clinton in which they urged her to "reaffirm the unbreakable bonds that tie the United States and Israel together and to diligently work to defuse current tensions."