The United States is trying to dissuade Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
from seeking non-member status at the United Nations
at top UN meetings later this month, an official said Monday.
"We continue to make clear that we believe that the only realistic path for the Palestinians to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Abbas said on Saturday he will make a bid on September 27 to upgrade the Palestinians to non-member status before the annual UN General Assembly.
The Palestinians currently only enjoy observer status.
In September 2011, Abbas made a high-profile effort to obtain full-member status at the UN, but the request was never put to a vote in the Security Council, where the United States had pledged to veto it.
"We are going to the UN to say that we are a state
which applies the Fourth Geneva Convention (on the protection of civilians in time of war)," Abbas said in a televised address at the weekend.
"There are 133 countries that recognize us as a state with East Jerusalem as its capital and where we have embassies hoisting the Palestinian flag."
Palestinians are virtually assured that their bid for non-member status at this month's UN General Assembly is likely to pass, as the resolution only needs the support of more than half of the 194 UN member states.
Nuland said the United States was in touch with
Abbas, and Washington was working to try to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiations.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has stalled since September 2010, and efforts by the peacemaking Quartet - which groups the European Union, United Nations, United States and Russia -- have failed to break the impasse.
"We are working intensively through the Quartet and directly with Israelis and Palestinians to continue to encourage them to come back to the table," Nuland told reporters.
"All we can do is push them. We cannot force them. They've got to make the decision for peace. They've got to make the decision to come back to the table."