Obama: Palestinian UN statehood campaign a 'mistake'

25th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama said Wednesday the possible Palestinian drive for national recognition at the United Nations was a "mistake", in his most direct criticism yet of the campaign.

Obama also urged Israel and the Palestinians to make "wrenching compromise" for a peace deal after a week of acrimony left prospects of a final settlement more distant than ever.

"The only way we are going to see a Palestinian state is if Israelis and Palestinians agree on a just peace," Obama said at a joint news conference in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I strongly believe for the Palestinians to take the United Nations route rather than the path of sitting down and talking with the Israelis is a mistake."

Obama's comments came just hours after Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas slammed a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said the Palestinians would seek UN recognition if peace talks do not resume.

In a key policy speech last week Obama had called for new talks based on the armistice lines in place before the 1967 Six Day War, a call firmly rejected by Netanyahu.

Obama said he was "confident" that a peace deal was achievable eventually, but added: "It is going to require wrenching compromise by both sides."

© 2011 AFP

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