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Obama nears pivotal Mideast moment

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Middle East will consume much of President Barack Obama's time this week.

Obama is about to formally end the divisive U.S. combat role in Iraq and restart talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Obama will tell the nation Tuesday night from the Oval Office that the U.S. role in Iraq has changed for good, with the remaining U.S. troops to play a supporting role to Iraqi forces.

The following day, Obama will make his largest investment of political capital to date in the difficult Mideast peace process. He will welcome Israeli's prime minister and the Palestinian president to the White House for individual talks and a joint dinner. Direct negotiations between the leaders begin Thursday.

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