WASHINGTON - The White House on Thursday stressed direct negotiations as the path to Middle East peace as the Palestinians are pushing hard for their statehood through recognition by the UN General Assembly."We absolutely believe, and I don't think anybody can credibly suggest otherwise, that the path to Middle East peace lies through direct, face-to-face negotiations," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at the White House.
"It does not come from declarations from international bodies, it has to come through peace talks," he added.
He noted that the U.S. engagement in the peace process "very focused on this" and the U.S. administrations have put "a great deal of effort into trying to do what we could to bring Palestinians and Israelis together to reach a Middle East peace deal agreement."
The Obama administration managed to relaunch direct talks between the two sides in September last year and set a one-year time limit for resolving all the core issues between them, but the talks collapsed only weeks later.
The Palestinians have made clear their goal of seeking recognition of a Palestinian state when the General Assembly meets in September. Though largely symbolic, the move may isolate Israel further, as at least 122 nations have offered their support for the statehood bid.
The U.S. has said that it will block the Palestinians' attempt, and media reports said the U.S. and Israel are trying to work out a framework for restarting direct talks with the Palestinians.
Carney said the U.S. is continuing its efforts to bring the two sides together. "And I think that we are an important player in that, but in the end, it has to be the two sides that come together, negotiate and work out an agreement that we can help facilitate with our other international partners," he added. "And we continue to work on doing that." (Xinhua)