Hoyer Statement on President Obama’s Speech on the Middle East & North Africa

For Immediate Release:

May 19, 2011

Contact:

Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after President Obama gave a speech on the Middle East and North Africa:

“Today President Obama spoke about deeply held American values, such as self-determination and respect for all, as he declared that it is the policy of the United States to stand on the side of those seeking democracy and progress, and that human rights must be respected.

“The President also reaffirmed our nation’s unshakeable relationship with Israel. Israel must have the ability to defend itself, by itself, and I was pleased that the President made that clear. The United States is committed to seeing the peace process move forward, and we will work with parties who want peace. That does not include Hamas, since they are unwilling to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, or accept prior agreements.

“I also agree with the President that unilateral actions are not helpful in advancing the peace process. A unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinians would be extremely damaging to that process.

“The President discussed a number of other issues, including a return to the borders of 1967 with agreed-upon land swaps. We must keep in mind that the situation on the ground has clearly changed over the last 44 years. Whatever peace agreement is reached must recognize the reality on the ground.”

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