Obama expresses pessimism on Mideast peace talks

President Obama expressed little optimism on Mideast peace Friday, saying there may come a time when there "needs to be a pause" in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

He called the recent announcement of a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian political groups, an "unhelpful step," and added that it is just one in a series of decisions that makes a resolution to the conflict more difficult.

While both sides acknowledge the crisis needs to be solved, neither side, he said, has the "political will" to make the tough decisions necessary to come to a solution in the decades-old conflict.

Still, Mr. Obama praised Secretary of State John Kerry's work and said he makes "no apologies" for Kerry's efforts to continue to bring the sides together.

But the president admitted that it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"Do I expect that they will walk through that door next week? Next month? Or even in the course of the next six months? No," he said.

"Are we going to continue to try to offer constructive approaches that could lead them to go ahead and take those steps? Absolutely."

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