WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that any Palestinian effort to seek UN recognition for statehood should be avoided.
Obama, who was reiterating his own position on the issue, was speaking at a news conference after White House talks with Merkel.
Markel also commented on the situation in the Middle East, saying they were pursuing a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
During their joint press conference, the two addressed many international issues, including Iran and Libya. Obama said he expects Germany to play a major role in Libya after longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi leaves power, adding that both he and Merkel believe Gaddafi must step down and that his removal from power is inevitable.
Also on Tuesday, Fatah Central Committee member Saeb Erekat met in Washington with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The meeting was also attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rodeina.
The sides discussed the Palestinians' intention to seek unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations. During the meeting, Erekat denied reports claiming he was engaged in secret talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy, Yitzhak Molcho.
Clinton on Monday poured cold water on a French proposal to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris, saying there was no sign either side was ready to talk.
"Right now we are still in a wait-and-see attitude because we don't yet have any assurance from either party that they would return to negotiations," Clinton told reporters after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, saying it would not be "productive" to have a meeting now.
Elior Levy, Reuters and AP contributed to this report