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Obama meets with Arab-American leaders ahead of Israel trip

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US President Barack Obama met members of the Arab-American community at the White House on Monday ahead of his trip to Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan, a US spokesman said.

During the meeting, Obama reiterated that his trip the Middle East was "not dedicated to resolving a specific policy issue, but is rather a chance to consult with Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian Authority officials about a broad range of issues," a spokesman said.

"(Obama) underscored that the trip is an opportunity for him to demonstrate the United States' commitment to the Palestinian people -- in the West Bank and Gaza -- and to partnering with the Palestinian Authority as it continues building institutions that will be necessary to bring about a truly independent Palestinian state," the source said.

The visit would also see Obama reiterate America's commitment to Israeli security, the spokesman said, while speaking "directly to the Israeli people about the history, interests, and values that we share."

The four groups who met Obama, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said in a statement the United States could broker "a peaceful, lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - resolution that is essential to long term security in the Middle East."

Monday's White House meeting, which was not included on Obama's official diary, comes four days after the US leader held similar talks with representatives of the American Jewish community.

During that meeting Obama had signaled there would be no big Middle East peace initiative on the table when he arrives in Israel for his first visit as US leader.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130311/obama-meets-arab-american-leaders-ahead-israel-trip