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U.S. firmly against Palestinian state bid

  |   Sept. 19, 2011 at 9:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The United States remains firmly against the Palestinian Authority's unilateral statehood bid, the White House said ahead of the U.N. General Assembly session.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to take the statehood question to the General Assembly for a vote.

"We remain where we were on the inadvisability of unilateral actions that will bring the Palestinians ... no closer to ... the statehood they seek," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday.

The U.N. General Assembly opens Tuesday and President Barack Obama is among the scheduled speakers for that day.

"As a rule, this administration [supports] the actions that move the parties closer together and [does] not support the things that move them further apart," Carney said. "That is our guiding principle, if you will."

The administration also believes the only way Israel and the Palestinians will achieve a two-state solution is through direct negotiations, Carney said.

"And that is the focus of all the diplomatic efforts that we are engaged in," he said. "We firmly believe that the right way forward, the way to achieve the very goal that the Palestinians seek, is through direct negotiations."

Actions that don't move the "two parties closer to direct negotiations are counterproductive," he said.

Carney would not discuss the content of Obama's U.N. address.

"He will talk about a number of issues that are very much on the minds of the international community and the leaders who are gathered in New York this week," Carney said, adding, "I won't preview it further than that except to say that our position on Middle East peace, his position on the right way forward is well known."

Obama will begin his day Tuesday by meeting with Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of Libya's Transitional National Council and then deliver remarks at a multilateral meeting of what the administration called "high-level" officials on Libya.

"We put a lot of effort into Libya in the course of the last several weeks to get international support for post-Gadhafi Libya, and that's going to be the focus of these meetings in the morning tomorrow," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Monday.

The TNC has been seated as a member of the General Assembly, representing the Libyan government.

Following the meeting on Libya, Obama will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- the first meeting between the two leaders since the United States announced a plan for transition of responsibility for the war in Afghanistan.

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