President Barack Obama is hosting the lead Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in newly resumed Middle East peace talks at the White House on Tuesday, officials said. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry also will take part, an administration official told Yahoo News.
The officials requested anonymity to discuss a meeting that was not on the president's public schedule.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that Obama was expected to deliver a diplomatic pep talk, urging both sides “to exhibit goodwill and to remain focused and steadfast throughout the talks.”
Still, even if chiefly a symbolic show of support as the two sides embark on a difficult diplomatic journey, the meeting sends an unmistakable sign that the Obama administration is serious about putting its political capital on the line in search of the elusive goal of Middle East peace.
"I know the negotiations are going to be tough, but I also know that the consequences of not trying could be worse," Kerry said Monday. The former Massachusetts senator has played a critical role in restarting the process, making frequent trips to the region in an effort to pull both sides back to the negotiating table.