Biden visit focuses on Mideast talks

Biden, right, will meets Middle East leaders from today. (AP)

US President Barack Obama dispatched his vice-president to the Middle East yesterday to try to build support for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks despite deep scepticism on both sides.

Iran is also a top issue for Israelis, many of whom see Obama's focus on diplomacy and targeted sanctions to curb Tehran's nuclear programme as wishful thinking.

An Israeli cabinet minister, commenting on Joe Biden's visit, pointed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's description of the September 11 attacks in the United States as a "big fabrication" as cause for concern.

An Israeli political source said Israel expected Biden's main message would be "don't bomb Iran", a cautionary note Washington has sounded before in contacts with Israeli leaders.

Biden will meet Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders, but a main component of his trip will be public diplomacy.


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