Washington: US President Barack Obama has said that he has a business like relationship with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while acknowledging that they have differences over a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Addressing a joint press conference with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Obama said, "I have a very businesslike relationship with the Prime Minister. I've met with him more than any other world leader. I talk to him all the time.
He is representing his country's interests the way he thinks he needs to, and I'm doing the same." Obama maintained that a two-state solution was "the best path forward for Israel's security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability."
US President Barack Obama. Pic/AFP
"Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach. So this can't be reduced to a matter of somehow let's all, you know, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is a matter of figuring out how do we get through a policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and for the region," he said in response to a question.
The US President said he took Netanyahu at his word that there would not be a two-state solution in the Middle East as long as he is in power. "I took him at his word that that's what he meant and I think that a lot of voters inside of Israel understood him to be saying that unequivocally," Obama said.
He said Netanyahu's election-eve comments ruling out a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict require his administration to re-evaluate its approach toward advocating for peace between them. "What we can't do is pretend that there's a possibility of something that is not there.
We can't continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years," he said.