Clinton: US focussed on next steps in Mideast conflict
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the United States is focussed on what will follow a bid by the Palestinians to seek statehood at the United Nations, dpa reported.
"I think it is important to note that regardless of what happens tomorrow in the United Nations, we remain focused on the day after," Clinton said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to file a request for recognition Friday during a speech to the UN General Assembly.
Washington has been working to halt the Palestinian UN effort, hoping instead to bring them instead back into direct negotiations with Israel with the goal of a two-state solution.
The Middle East Quartet of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia met late Thursday to discuss the Palestinian issue and would continue discussions Friday before Abbas' speech, a senior US official said.
The United States has vowed to use its veto power as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council to block the effort there.
"I was encouraged to hear from both the leadership of the Palestinians and the Israeli government their continuing commitment to direct negotiations," Clinton told reporters after a meeting with the Tunisian Foreign Minister Mouldi Kefi.
"They both recognize that there has to be a resolution of the outstanding issues to produce a functioning Palestinian state that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and there have to be agreements that provide Israel with the security that it seeks living side-by-side with the new Palestinian state."