The United States pledged on Thursday to continue efforts to bring the Israelis and the Palestinians back for direct talks, as the UN General Assembly was set to vote for an elevated status for the Palestinians despite U.S. objection.
"Regardless of what happens in New York today, the United States is going to continue to try to bring these parties back to the table," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing.
"Obviously we're going to," she said, noting "The president is committed to that, and I think the only question is what kind of environment we're working in."
Despite Washington's repeated threat to veto and last-minute efforts to stall him, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday went ahead with his plea for an elevated status of non- member observer state of Palestine from the current entity, saying obtaining the new status was "the last chance to save the two- state solution."
The Palestinians would garner the needed simple majority in the 193-member General Assembly, which has a majority of Arab, Muslim, developing and Non-Aligned Movement countries.
The United States has vehemently opposed to the Palestinians' latest move, arguing the elevated status would change nothing on the ground and a Palestinian state can only be achieved through direct talks with Israel.
"I have said many times that the path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters on Wednesday.
"The only way to get a lasting solution is to commence direct negotiations," she added.
Direct talks between the two parties broke down only weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama made them sit down at the negotiating table in early September 2010, as Israel refused to back down over settlement building in the West Bank.
The Palestinians' bid for a full statehood failed at the UN Security Council last year due to Washington's threat of use of veto.
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