Obama to welcome Abbas at the White House


McClatchy Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama will welcome Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House March 17.

"The president looks forward to reviewing with President Abbas the progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said 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."

The visit comes two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to Obama on March 3.

Netanyahu will be in town to address the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, which bills itself as "the largest gathering of the pro-Israel movement in the U.S."

Obama has tried to pivot to other areas of the globe, but the ongoing problems in the Middle East keep drawing his attention back. He will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on a visit to that country next month.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been working for months on a potential agreement that will outline U.S. proposals for a two-state solution in the Middle East. 

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