Obama at the United Nations calls on Arab nations to support peace talks

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Reporting from the United Nations —

President Obama on Thursday pushed Arab nations to provide more political and financial support for the Middle East peace effort, warning that they should not risk the failure of the latest initiative if they truly seek an independent Palestinian state and stability across the region.

Obama deplored efforts — assisted by some Arab and Muslim countries — to isolate or “delegitimize” Israel.

“Those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down,” Obama said in a morning address to the United Nations General Assembly. “It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”

But Obama also asked for a sacrifice by the Israelis, using the U.N. forum to renew his call for the continuation of Israel’s freeze — set to expire Sept. 26 — on construction in disputed areas.

“Our position on this issue is well known,” Obama said. “We believe that the moratorium should be extended. We also believe that talks should press on until completed.”

Those who support self-government of the Palestinians should help the Palestinian Authority by giving political and financial support to build the institutions of their state, Obama said. Compromise will be hard, he said, but it is better than the alternative.

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