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Obama, Netanyahu To Focus On Mideast Peace Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met in New York last year.
U.S. President Barack Obama is to meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington today.

The talks are expected to focus on efforts to revive face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The Palestinians broke off direct peace talks after Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza in late 2008.

On the eve of Netanyahu's visit to Washington, Israel announced on July 5 it would allow more goods into Gaza.

Israel has come under international pressure to ease its four-year blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory after a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to break the blockade.

The May 31 raid, which killed nine Turks, badly damaged relations between Israel and Turkey, two key U.S. allies.

Obama and Netanyahu are also expected to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Today's talks come following recent tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations over the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state.

compiled from agency reports