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Netanyahu in Obama White House talks

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Netanyahu in Obama White House talks

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with US President Barack Obama in a bid to ease strained ties between the two allies.

It is the first time the men have met since relations soured over Israel’s continued settlement building in East Jerusalem.

No details were released to the media, but Netanyahu later said Palestinian demands to freeze building could delay peace talks by up to a year.

Israel’s expansion of settlements has been widely criticised by the international community.

The Jewish state captured East Jerusalem in a 1967 war, but Palestinians say the land belongs to them and want it be the capital of any future state.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said Israel’s hardline approach made a deal unlikely.

“The recent statements of Prime Minister Netanyahu that promises continuity of illegal settlement building in East Jersualem is very disappointing and it constitutes a big strike that will undermine the American and international efforts,” he said.

Freezing settlements formed part of a 2003 road map for peace. It also obliged Palestinians to disarm militant groups.