UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that peace cannot be imposed but has to be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
"Peace cannot be imposed on the parties," Obama said during their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "It`s going to have to be negotiated. The ultimate goal of all of us is two states side by side living in peace." The Obama administration is making last-ditch efforts to stop the Palestinians` bid for statehood at the UN Security Council, calling the unilateral move "unproductive," while Israel said it would bring about grave consequences. The U.S. has threatened to veto any Palestinian move.
In his earlier address to the General Assembly, Obama said the Palestinians deserve "a state of their own," but the path lies in negotiations.
Netanyahu praised Obama`s efforts to block the statehood bid as a "badge of honor," and thanked the president for "standing with Israel and supporting peace," the White House said.
"We both agree that Palestinians and Israelis should sit down and negotiate. This is the only way to get a stable and durable peace,"Netanyahu said.
He said the attempt to "shortcut" this process and get membership at the UN will not succeed. He also expressed hope that others will follow in Obama`s path.
Reporters noticed that Obama leaned into Netanyahu as he spoke, but the tone and body language of the two men was reserved.
The meeting was the first between the two leaders since May, when Netanyahu sparred with Obama at his Oval Office over his suggestion that Israel and the Palestinians restart negotiations on the basis of the 1967 boundaries with mutually agreed swaps.
Obama is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday afternoon.
News Analysis: U.S. to demand Israeli payback for UN veto
JERUSALEM, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States will use its veto in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to block a resolution backing an independent Palestinian state, a decision that will please Israel, but won`t come for free, analysts told Xinhua Wednesday.
Israel and the U.S. oppose the bill, which is expected to be officially initiated by Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Obama refuses to comment on French plan over Palestinian statehood
NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday refused to comment on a French plan calling for deferred action on Palestinian statehood at the United Nations while establishing a one-year timeline for peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
He evaded several questions about the plan before he started talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. He replied with a " no comment" when asked whether his evasion was a "no comment," according to the White House.