Obama to host Palestinian president in March

Washington, Feb 28: US President Barack Obama will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House March 17, the White House said Thursday.

The president looks forward to reviewing with Abbas the progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Xinhua quoted White House spokesperson Jay Carney as saying in a statement.

“They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

On March 3, Obama will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the ongoing peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians will likely proceed beyond the original deadline of April.

Kerry had aimed for a deal on all the final-status issues — security, border, the status of Jerusalem and refugees, within nine months when he brought back the two sides for fresh negotiations in late July last year.

However, no visible progress has been made so far as the parties have been wrangling over settlement building on the occupied land, security arrangements and other issues.

IANS