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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — President Barack Obama, visiting the world's most populous Muslim nation, expressed deep concern Tuesday 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 parties."
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 marveled 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 U.S. sees Indonesia as a counterweight to China's growing strength, though Obama said Tuesday he's not seeking to stop China's growth.
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