Obama: Mideast peace 'more vital than ever'

By the Associated Press | May 17, 2011 | 12:58 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says it's "more vital than ever" for Israel and the Palestinians to restart peace talks.

The president says the United States has an enormous stake in the outcome and will continue to try to find an "equitable and just" solution.

The president made his comments after an Oval Office meeting on Tuesday with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

They talks come as prospects look exceptionally grim for a Middle East peace that's a long-sought goal of the U.S. and Jordan. Israel is taking a tough line against an emerging Palestinian government and there's been renewed violence.

Obama is plunging into an intense week of Middle East diplomacy with a speech planned Thursday on U.S. policy in the region, and a visit Friday from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.