Reuters International

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


By Jeff Mason

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday he had concerns about Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and hoped the United States could continue to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"Clearly there is great danger of not just terrorism but also flare-ups of violence," Obama said at the start of what will likely be his last meeting as president with Netanyahu.

"We do have concerns around settlement activity as well. And our hope is that we can continue to be an effective partner with Israel in finding a path to peace," Obama said as they met on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Obama, who leaves office in January, made reference to a military aid agreement between the two allies.

"It is a very difficult and dangerous time in the Middle East, and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs in order to keep the Israeli people safe," he said.

Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with Obama, said he appreciated their many talks about challenges facing his country.

"The greatest challenge is of course the unremitting fanaticism. The greatest opportunity is to advance ... peace. That's a goal that I and the people of Israel will never give up on," Netanyahu said.

"We've been fortunate that in pursuing these two tasks, Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Howard Goller and Grant McCool)


 Reuters International