'Obama wants Mideast breakthrough within next two years'
U.S. President to visit Riyadh and Cairo this week with message of reconciliation for Muslim world.
U.S. President Barack Obama has given himself a two-year deadline to reach a breakthrough on a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, The Sunday Times reported.
The administration has been firm in its declarations that it would pursue a two-state solution and Obama has vowed to "change the conversation" with the Muslim world in order to widen the diplomatic circle involved in the peace process.
Obama will visit the Middle East this week for talks in Riyadh and Cairo, where he is expected to unfurl his long-awaited plan for expanding Muslim diplomacy.
Meanwhile, tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are growing after the U.S. administration's demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements.
Israeli political officials have accused the administration of taking a preferential line toward the Palestinians with this regard.
Some officials expressed disappointment after Tuesday's round of meetings in London with George Mitchell, Obama's envoy to the Middle East. "All of the understandings reached during the [George W.] Bush administration are worth nothing," said one senior official.
Another official said the U.S. administration is refusing every Israeli attempt to reach new agreements on settlement construction. "The United States is taking a line of granting concessions to the Palestinians that is not fair toward Israel," he said.
The Israeli officials attributed the unyielding U.S. stance to the speech Obama will make in Cairo this Thursday, in which he is expected to deliver a message of reconciliation to the Arab and Muslim worlds.