Status quo in Gaza unsustainable: Obama

Obama and Abbas mainly discussed the ways to ease situation in Gaza strip.

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday termed the situation in disputed Gaza Strip as "unsustainable" and called for a better approach that takes into account both Israel`s security concerns and the needs of people in Gaza.

"The status quo that we have is one that is inherently unstable, and I think the Israelis have come to recognise that," Obama said in his joint press availability with visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The meeting came a little more than a week after Israel`s deadly May 31 raid on a flotilla, killing nine people, majority of them Turks.

"The question is how do we create a different framework so that people in Gaza can thrive and succeed, so that extremists are isolated as opposed to having an excuse for engaging in violent activities, but also how do we do it in a way that Israel`s legitimate security concerns are met," he said.

"I think President Abbas recognise that Israel should not have missiles flying out of Gaza into its territories. So there should be a means by which we are able to stop the flow of arms that could endanger Israel`s security, at the same time we`re doing so in a way that allows the people in Gaza to live out their aspirations and their dreams, both for themselves and their children," Obama said.

Obama said he and President Abbas mainly discussed the ways to ease the situation in blockaded Gaza strip.

"...Our conversation was focused on how do we actually allow more goods, more services into Gaza, how do we allow businesses to thrive, how can we get construction moving, how can we put people to work in Gaza," he said.

The US President said the flotilla raid was a "tragedy" and that it`s important "that we get all the facts”.

Abbas called for lifting the Israeli blockade and opening Gaza crossings.

He said that he has no preconditions and that he will be willing to engage in direct talks once there is progress in proximity talks.

"With regards to the transitioning from the proximity talks to the direct talks. We`re not saying that we have conditions. What has happened is that we agreed that, should a progress be achieved, then we would move on to direct talks," he said.

"We are working in order to make progress. President Obama is working for that, to see progress," he said.

PTI

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