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Obama calls on Arab nations to support peace talks

In a speech at the United Nations, the president also defends Israel's legitimacy but urges the Jewish state to freeze construction in disputed areas.

September 24, 2010|By Christi Parsons and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

"With language like, 'I refuse to accept that alternative,' Obama has also placed pressure not just on Abbas and Netanyahu, but on himself," Miller said. "That's sometimes unwise."

By so strongly emphasizing his commitment and his stake in the process, Obama has put himself in the middle of the matter, Miller said.

"That's OK if Abbas and Netanyahu are prepared to get in there with him and make the right decisions," he said. "If not, he'll look naive and, worse, like he's failed."

Hours after Obama's appearance, the U.S. delegation walked out of a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after he suggested that the U.S. government may have carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to ensure Israel's survival.

Ahmadinejad said there were three theories about how the attacks happened.

One was that a "powerful and complex terrorist group" had executed them. Another was that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East … in order also to save the Zionist regime."

A third, he said, was that a terrorist group had carried out the attacks, but that the U.S. government supported it and took advantage of the development.

Two U.S. officials listening to the speech rose after the second theory and walked out of the room, trailed by diplomats from some allied countries.

The U.S. delegation issued a statement saying, "Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."

cparsons@latimes.com

paul.richter@latimes.com

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