Arab League calls for action on Palestinian statehood

Arab League chief Amr Moussa called on President Barack Obama to follow through with his support for a Palestinian state based on Israel's 1967 borders, Egypt's state news agency MENA said on Friday.

Obama reaffirmed the US commitment to Israel's security on Thursday and called for a peace deal to result in two states, Israeli and Palestinian, sharing the border that existed before Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.

"The Palestinian issue is at the heart of instability in the Middle East," Moussa said, calling on the United States to move in "the coming weeks and months toward establishing a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Obama's backing of the key Palestinian demand on the borders of a future state with Israel marks a policy shift but did not provide clear steps toward a peace deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Obama's proposal would leave his state "indefensible.”

"The interests of the United States are interconnected with the deep transformations the region is witnessing," Moussa was quoted as saying, describing the change as an opportunity for the United States to adopt "new and balanced policies."

"There must be balance in talk about security of all parties, and not just focusing on the security of Israel without regard for the security of others," he added.

Obama condemned the Palestinians' plan to seek UN General Assembly recognition for statehood, but Moussa said on Friday that any attempt to take the Palestinian issue to international forums was "a legitimate step."

Moussa, who is also a contender to become Egypt's next president, welcomed Obama's pledge to support the economies of Egypt and Tunisia, which have both ousted their rulers.

The US president promised US$1 billion debt relief and other economic support for Egypt, whose economy has been hammered since the uprising drove out tourists and investors.

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