Obama extends emergency on Mideast peace

Jan. 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The Obama administration announced it was continuing a national emergency related to the Middle East peace process because of the regional terrorist threat.

U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1995 issued an executive order in regards to an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security interests from foreign terrorists working against efforts to find a solution to the crisis in the Middle East.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was extending the emergency for one year "with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process."

His decision follows an agreement between West Bank leadership Fatah and Gaza leadership Hamas to move forward with reconciliation agreements, The Jerusalem Post reports. Palestine gained recent recognition at the U.N. General Assembly as its leaders push for more unilateral influence among members of the international community.

Cairo recently helped broker peace talks that ended fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military. The Israeli government, for its part, was criticized for decisions to expand settlement activity in the West Bank.

Israel is set for elections next week. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Post that he and Obama have their differences over the best way to advance peace with the Palestinians.

"I respect the president and I know that we would both like to see peace achieved in this region, even if we sometimes disagree on the best way to achieve it," he said.

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