Obama to meet with Abbas as Palestinian statehood bid dominates UN
US President Barack Obama was to meet with Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday as the Palestinian president's efforts to seek statehood at the United Nations come to a head, the White House said.
Palestinians, Israelis and the US have been scrambling to line up support in the UN Security Council before Abbas was scheduled to apply for UN membership for Palestine and deliver a much-anticipated address to the General Assembly on Friday, dpa reported.
The US has vowed to veto a bid in the Security Council, where it is among the permanent members with veto power, but such a move could alienate Washington from the Arab world during a critical time in the region. The US insists that recognition of a Palestinian state must instead come through direct negotiations with Israel.
Obama was to meet with Abbas at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wednesday evening after meeting earlier in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For any decision to pass in the 15-member Security Council, nine affirmative votes are needed, as well as no veto by any of the permanent members.
A senior Palestinian official said Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority has so far enlisted the support of at least six or seven members of the Security Council, and was trying to convince two or three more to vote in favour of accepting Palestine as a United Nations member state.