Obama meets with Middle East negotiators

07/30/2013 8:29 AM

07/30/2013 8:43 AM

President Obama met today at the White House with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meeting in Washington in an effort to renew peace talks.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest had said Monday that Obama had no immediate meetings with the negotiators planned, but left the door open to future talks. The White House has taken credit for the resumption of talks, pegging it to Obama's March Middle East trip, though until today Obama had kept a low profile, as Secretary of State John Kerry made repeated trips to the region, pursuing talks.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were scheduled to meet U.S. counterparts for dinner Monday night, with talks set to begin at the State Department Tuesday morning.

Obama met with the negotiators before heading to Chattanooga, Tenn., where he'll push his economic agenda. Obama hopped aboard Marine One at the White House without responding to a shouted question about the meeting, smiling and cupping his ear if to imply he could not hear the question over the noise of the helicopter.

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