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Obama to meet Abbas to avert showdown over statehood at UN

(Xinhua)

15:47, September 21, 2011

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu here Wednesday, in his last-ditch efforts to avoid a showdown over statehood with Palestinians at the United Nations.

The White House said Obama has added Abbas to his long list of foreign dignitaries whom he is scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Others include Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Abbas was not on the list when the White House briefed reporters last week on Obama's upcoming trip to the United Nations.

Both the United States and Israel oppose Palestinians' bid to seek statehood at the UN, arguing the unilateral move is counterproductive and a two-state solution can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two parties.

Abbas has decided to press ahead with the bid, and has informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his intention.

The United States has threatened to veto any Palestinian application at the UN Security Council, a move that risks infuriating the Arab world.

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