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Obama Invites Israeli PM to Talks in Washington

A top White House official has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to formal talks with U.S. President Barack Obama next week.

Mr. Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, delivered the invitation to the prime minister Wednesday during a meeting in Jerusalem.

Emanuel said the talks, to take place June 1 at the White House, will focus on "shared security interests."

Israeli media say it is likely the visit is an attempt by the Obama administration to mend ties following Israel's decision to continue construction in East Jerusalem despite U.S. and Palestinian objections.

The U.S. has been mediating indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians in an effort to re-start the peace process.

The Palestinians want a state in areas Israel captured in the 1967 war, with East Jerusalem as a capital. They have said they will not return to direct peace talks unless Israel stops building settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.