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Obama Says Mideast Talks 'More Vital Than Ever'

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that the current political turmoil in the Middle East made it "more vital than ever" that Israel and the Palestinians resume negotiations.

Obama, during a meeting in Washington with Jordan's King Abdullah II, said frozen talks must be revived.

Obama said Israelis and Palestinians should start discussions that would end in the creation of two states at peace with each other.

"Despite the many changes, or perhaps because of the many changes that have taken place in the region, it's more vital than ever that both Israelis and Palestinians find a way to get back to the table and begin negotiating a process whereby they can create two states that are living side by side in peace and security," Obama said.

Negotiations have been frozen since late last year because of a row over Jewish settlements. The quagmire was deepened by the resignation of Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell last week.

The Oval Office meeting with the king came at the start of a week of intense U.S. Middle East diplomacy, which includes a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama's big speech on the "Arab Spring" on May 19.

compiled from agency reports