UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama declined Wednesday to discuss a report that France was floating a proposal to defer U.N. action for a year on Palestinian statehood.
Appearing with French President Nicolas Sarkozy after the two leaders met in New York, Obama deflected reporters' questions about the report that France had been suggesting putting off a decision on statehood while setting up a one-year timeline for peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
Instead, the two leaders used the joint appearance to exchange words of mutual admiration.
Obama thanked Sarkozy for his "expression of deep friendship" in remarks following the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and said "I want to affirm the mutuality of feeling that we have towards the French people."
"That partnership has been evidenced by the extraordinary work that we've done together in Libya," Obama said. "And I want to thank President Sarkozy for his leadership, as a coalition helped the Libyan people achieve the kind of freedom and opportunity that they're looking for."
He said the "partnership" between the United States and France will be "critical in the months and years to come, including trying to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," as well as in addressing global economic difficulties.
Sarkozy said it was "easy to work with Barack Obama."
"Whatever the crises we've had to face together, whatever the initiatives we have taken jointly, on every single occasion we have found a listening, open-minded attitude on the part of our friend, Barack Obama," he said., "In particular, when tackling the crisis, which is still upon us today, the leadership that President Obama has shown, and showed at the time, have been of a special value to us all."