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White House wants Romney to explain Israel remarks

Romney, in midst of 3-nation tour, gave a speech in Jerusalem where he hailed the city as 'the capital of Israel'

AFP/PTI  |  Washington 

I / Washington July 31, 2012, 9:41 IST

The has called on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt to explain recent including his apparent endorsement of as Israel's capital, a position that counters

Romney, in the midst of a three-nation tour, gave a speech Sunday in where he hailed the city as "the capital of Israel," in apparent support of a position held by the state but never accepted by the global community.

The comment was swiftly rejected by Palestinian negotiator Saeb as "unacceptable" and "harmful to American interests in our region."

But after made fresh controversial statements yesterday to donors in including suggesting "culture" helped explain the country's economic success -- a position denounced as "racist" -- President Barack Obama's office urged to clarify his comments.

"One of the challenges of being an actor on the stage, particularly when you're traveling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinized for meaning, for nuance, for motivation," spokesman Josh yesterday said about the Monday

The comments have left some people "scratching their heads a little bit," told reporters at the daily briefing. "But I would leave it to governor to further explain what he meant and what he intended when he said that."

said Romney's position on Jerusalem, the eastern half of which claim as the capital of a promised future state, runs counter to longstanding

"It's the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties," said.

"If Mr disagrees with that position, he's also disagreeing with the position that was taken by presidents like and Ronald Reagan."

First Published: Tue, July 31 2012. 09:41 IST