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U.S. lawmakers call on Saudi king to step up

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter urging Saudi King Abdullah to "assert a strong leadership role" in the Middle East is gathering signatures in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The AIPAC-backed letter, circulated by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ed Royce (D-Calif.), expresses disappointment with the Saudi government’s public reaction thus far to President Obama’s Cairo speech, noting that the Saudi foreign minister recently said that his country could not "take any step toward normalization before the return of all Arab land."

"We urge you to assert a strong leadership role and help lead the Middle East to a new era of peace and reconciliation by stepping forward with a dramatic gesture toward Israel," such as the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, states the letter.

As of Monday, 108 members of the House had signed on to the missive.

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