Obama and Abbas in Ramallah in March 2013 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
US President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet PA President Mahmoud Abbas on
Tuesday in New York on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly,
according to US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
later, on September 30, Obama will host Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the
The two separate meetings will mark the first face-to-face
conversations between Obama and Abbas, as well as between the US president and
Netanyahu, since the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at
the end of July.
Rhodes told reporters in a conference call that these
meetings were “an important opportunity for him [Obama] to reinforce the support
of the United States for the progress that is underway towards Middle East
peace; to welcome the courageous steps that have been taken by both leaders
while also reinforcing the need to continue to make progress, given the
opportunity that is presented through these negotiations.”
scheduled talks with Abbas and Netanyahu come amid warnings by the PA to suspend
talks if Israel continues to act violently against Palestinians and to build in
West Bank settlements.
In Washington on Friday Deputy State Department
Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the US believes the talks will continue.
will say that the two parties remain at the table. These are complicated issues.
We know this is not an easy process, but we are in continuing discussions – they
are – and we’re certainly a part of that where it’s appropriate, and that hasn’t
changed,” Harf said.
On Tuesday, Obama will also speak of the talks in
his address to the UN General Assembly.
He will tell the assembly of “our
ongoing pursuit of Middle East peace and the opportunity that is presented by
the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians have made hard choices to come into
direct negotiations on final status issues,” Rhodes told reporters.
is also expected to discuss Syria and Iran in his speech to the UN General
Assembly. While he will speak of the dangers of Syrian chemical weapons and
Iran’s nuclear weapons program, he will also stress the importance of solving
both issues diplomatically.