Text size

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been pressuring U.S. President Barack Obama to set a two-year deadline for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and threatening to rescind the Arab peace initiative, Egyptian sources said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the London-based Arabic-language daily A-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Obama had presented to Egypt and Israel a plan for a two-state solution to be finalized within two years.

According to Egyptian sources, however, it was actually Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the country's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman who imposed the two-year deadline on Obama. They said that the Egyptians told Obama that the Arab peace initiative, which calls for normalized relations with the Arab world in return for territorial concessions, would crumble unless some real progress was made before the two-year deadline.

"The initiative won't wait until your next term," the Egyptian officials warned Obama, and demanded results by the two year deadline.

Saudi King Abdullah communicated the same message to Obama on the eve of the American president's Cairo speech June 4, only using harsher tone and more explicit language than the Egyptian officials.

Though A-Sharq al-Awsat presented the two-year deadline idea as Obama's, the Egyptian officials revealed to Haaretz that it was the Arab side that came up with the time-frame, and that Obama adopted it and then "transferred the ball into [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's court."