Abbas and Obama at UN General Assembly 2013 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
NEW YORK - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to US President Barack Obama on Tuesday that the Palestinians will exert every effort possible to try to ensure peace talks with Israel are a success.
Obama met with Abbas on Tuesday afternoon, after telling the United Nations that one of the two greatest foreign policy priorities of his presidency is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The US president commended the Palestinian Authority president for sitting at the negotiating table with his Israeli counterparts and for condemning violence against the Jewish state.
"We’ve seen Palestinian and Israeli representatives discuss some of the most difficult issues that have been roadblocks to peace for too long," Obama said.
"None of us are under any illusion that this would be easy," said Obama.
Abbas, who spoke briefly, said that a peace agreement was in the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and all those who live in the region.
"We are fully committed to the peace process so that we can reach a final settlement that ultimately will lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state that would live side-by-side in peace and security with Israel," Abbas said.
Abbas said negotiators will need to overcome "several difficulties" but that the Palestinians are committed to the process.
At a meeting last night with Jewish leaders, Abbas condemned terrorism
in strong terms when asked about the killing of two Israeli soldiers in separate incidents in the West Bank last week.
The US president devoted a large portion of his General Assembly address
to the decades-old conflict, calling the creation of a Palestinian state a necessity for the dignity of its people and a requirement for the protection of Israel's Jewish identity.
"The border of Israel and Palestine should be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed-to swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states with robust security provisions so that Israel retains the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threats," Obama told reporters before the meeting.
Obama is due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Washington as he tries to keep up the momentum in peace negotiations.