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Obama pushes back at Israel, says US is offering no "freebies" to Iran in nuclear talks
CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) ' Exposing a rift with Israel, President Barack Obama on Sunday insisted that the U.S. had not "given anything away" in new talks with Iran and defended his administration's continued push for a diplomatic resolution to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Obama said that while he refused to let the nuclear negotiations turn into a "stalling process", he was willing to see if Iran was negotiating in good faith. Earlier Sunday, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed with that strategy, saying the U.S. and world powers gave Tehran a "freebie" by agreeing to hold more talks next month.
"So far at least we haven't given away anything, other than the opportunity for us to negotiate and see if Iran comes to the table in good faith," Obama said during a news conference Sunday in Colombia, as he wrapped up a diplomatic mission to Latin America.
Winding down his three day trip in the port city of Cartagena, Obama also sought to offer hope for fresh start with Cuba, saying the U.S. would welcome the communist-run island's transition to democracy. There could be an opportunity for such a shift to take place in the coming years, Obama said.
Standing alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Obama also proclaimed a free trade agreement between their countries as a "win-win." Obama announced that the trade pact can be fully enforced next month, not that Colombia has enacted a series of protections for workers and labor unions.