Obama calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel rather than seek statehood through the United Nations, DPA reported
"I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN - if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now," he said.
"Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians - not us - who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem."
Palestinians, Israelis and the United States have been scrambling to line up support in the UN Security Council before President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to apply for UN membership for Palestine and deliver a much-anticipated address to the General Assembly on Friday.
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.