President Obama pushed aggressively for Mideast peace Tuesday, saying in a historic three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders that the time for "stepping back" had ended -- and that immediate progress is needed.
"Simply put, it is past time to talk about starting negotiations. It is time to move forward," the president said as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Despite all the obstacles, despite all the history, despite all the mistrust, we have to find a way forward," Obama said. "We have to summon the will to break the deadlock that has trapped generations of Israelis and Palestinians in an endless cycle of conflict and suffering."
Obama also gave a specific timeline with detailed expectations from both sides. Exact dates weren't revealed, and Abbas and Netanyahu didn't speak after Obama's comments.
Obama's sit-down with Netanyahu and Abbas was part of a marathon day of diplomacy, during which he will also meet with the Chinese president and speak with sub-Saharan African leaders about boosting education. He also gave an address on climate change, calling on wealthy nations to help developing countries grow without hurting the environment.
"The security and stability of each nation and all peoples – our prosperity, our health, our safety – are in jeopardy," Obama told the U.N. Climate Change Summit. "And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out."
Obama said the U.S. is leading the way by cutting carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy. But he said developed nations must do more to help emerging nations make economic progress without it coming at the expense of the environment.
"That is why we have a responsibility to provide the financial and technical assistance needed to help these nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development," Obama said.