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Elie Wiesel says tensions between US and Israel are lessening

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate, had lunch with President Obama on Tuesday. Afterwards, Wiesel told reporters tensions between the US and Israel are lessening.

By Associated Press / May 4, 2010

Writer, Nobel Laureate and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel speaks to the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, May 4, 2010, following a private lunch with U.S. President Barack Obama. Wiesel said tensions between the US and Israel are lessening.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

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Washington

President Barack Obama and fellow Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel discussed the need for a renewed Middle East peace process Tuesday during a private lunch at the White House.

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Speaking to reporters afterwards, Wiesel said the meeting was a "good kosher lunch" between friends. But he said the conversation did turn serious, as the two Nobel Peace Prize winners discussed the administration's attempts to break the deadlock in the Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

Obama's meeting with Wiesel, a strong supporter of Israel, comes during a period of strained relations between the U.S. and Israel. The author said he believes tensions between the two countries are lessening.

"Relations between Israel and the United States have a history, and that history has always been one of understanding," he said.

Wiesel visited the White House last February when he accepted an award for his work to educate the country on the Holocaust.

Wiesel survived the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Last June, when Obama visited Germany, Wiesel accompanied the president on a tour of Buchenwald.

Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Obama won last year.