Jakarta: US President Barack
Obama, visiting the world`s most populous Muslim nation,
expressed deep concern on Wednesday that Israelis and Palestinians
aren`t making the "extra effort" to secure a breakthrough for
achieving Middle East peace.
Obama said he hasn`t seen the kind of progress in
negotiations that "could finally create a framework for a
secure Israel living side by side in peace with a sovereign
Palestine." Asked at a news conference with Indonesia`s
President Suslilo Bambang Yudhoyono about Israeli settlement
construction in East Jerusalem, Obama said, "Each of these
incremental steps can end up breaking that trust between these
Obama raised his Mideast concerns while appearing with
Yudhoyono during his first visit to Indonesia as president to
the country where he lived for four years as a child. He
marvelled over "sights and sounds" that evoked memories of the
past and said that Indonesia`s landscape of today barely
resembles the land where he went to live at age 6 in 1967
after his mother married an Indonesian man.
The US sees Indonesia as a counterweight to China`s
growing strength, though Obama said today he`s not seeking to
stop China`s growth.
"We think China being prosperous and secure is a
positive," Obama said. "We`re not interested in containing
Still, with the controversy over how China values its
currency looming as Obama heads to the G-20 economic summit in
South Korea later this week, Obama said all countries must
operate within, "an international framework and sets of rules
in which countries recognise their responsibilities to each
Without mentioning China by name, he pointedly noted
that the global economy hasn`t achieved balanced growth.
"We have seen some countries run up very big surpluses
and intervening significantly in the currency markets to
maintain their advantage," Obama said.
Obama will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao
Thursday, but officials say they don`t expect the currency
issue to be resolved.
The president said he believes the administration has
improved relations with the Muslim world but called it an
"incomplete project," saying much more work needs to be done.
Obama said policy differences with Muslim countries will
linger, but that building better ties between the people of
the United States and the Muslim world will foster improved