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'Pause' maybe needed in Israeli-Palestinian talks, Obama says
'Pause' maybe needed in Israeli-Palestinian talks, Obama says
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (not seen) at the Akasaka guesthouse in Tokyo April 24, 2014. (Rueters)
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Reuters - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday a "pause" might be needed in U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, suggesting leaders on both sides lacked the will to make the necessary compromises.

Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, Obama called the Palestinian move "unhelpful" and said it was one of a series of choices the two sides had made in recent weeks that had hurt the chances of reaching a peace deal.

"There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives," Obama said, offering a grim assessment of nine months of direct talks that were overseen by Washington but ultimately led nowhere.

While Obama insisted he was not ready to abandon his quest for Middle East peace, he said: "What we haven't seen is, frankly, the kind of political will to actually make tough decisions, and that's been true on both sides."

Palestinian movements Hamas and Fateh have agreed on a unity pact to end a seven-year schism, attracting an Israeli anger and an American disapproval.

The new deal requires the application of the previous Doha and Cairo agreements concluded between the movements during the last two years. 

Al Ray contributed to this report.