NEW YORK: US President Barack Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas met in New York on Wednesday amid a diplomatic showdown over the Palestinian drive for statehood recognition at the United Nations.
The meeting, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, came seven hours after Obama met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the US leader deserved a "badge of honor" for his defense of the Jewish state.
Earlier, Obama said that he was "convinced that there is no short cut" to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN -- if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now," Obama said in a speech to the General Assembly.
Obama spoke from the same podium where a year ago he called upon the world to unite and reject hatred to permit a new Palestinian state to be admitted to the United Nations within 12 months.
Now, after the failure of peace talks, Obama is faced with the prospect of wielding a US veto to halt a drive for statehood recognition in the Security Council by Palestinians frustrated by the failure of peace talks.
"I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. So am I. But the question isn't the goal we seek -- the question is how to reach it," Obama said.
"And, 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." AGENCIES