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Obama: U.S.-Israeli ties remain strong

March 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- President Obama said Sunday the United States and Israel remained staunch allies despite differing opinions voiced on the Republican campaign trail.

Obama told a pro-Israel group in Washington that the United States and Israel were cooperating closely on security matters and that two nations were not drifting apart.

"So if during this political season you hear some question my administration's support for Israel, remember that it's not backed up by the facts," Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "Remember that the U.S.-Israel relationship is simply too important to be distorted by partisan politics."

Obama said the latest turmoil in the Middle East made it more important for Washington to keep talking to all of the different players and urge them to reach an accommodation with Israel, and for the Israelis to continue looking for ways to keep the lid on regional tensions.

"As hard as it may be, we should not give in to cynicism or despair," Obama said. "The changes taking place in the region make peace more important, not less. And I have made it clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel's security concerns are met."

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