"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Office of the Press Secretary
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
5:21 P.M. EDT
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Quickly, with the two bilats that the President did this afternoon ...
Then, in the bilat with President Abbas, I’d just first of all note that the majority of the meeting was a one-on-one discussion between the two Presidents. President Obama praised, as he did publicly in his speech, President Abbas’s commitment to pursue Middle East peace through direct negotiations with Prime Minister Netanyahu -- acknowledged the hard choices that President Abbas has made in putting aside shortcuts to peace through the United Nations that we do not believe can succeed.
He encouraged President Abbas, as he has Prime Minister Netanyahu, to move quickly in those discussions so that the two sides are addressing the final status issues of security and borders, and refugees, and Jerusalem. Again, the point being that we have a window of opportunity here with direct negotiations, and the quicker that they get to the hard issues, the greater likelihood there is of success. The President committed to staying in close contact in support of those discussions, and also noted that Secretary Kerry of course will continue to play a lead role in that peace process.
Q I'd like to ask about President Obama's meeting with President Abbas. President Obama said that the border with Israel and Palestine should be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed-to swaps. So can you say anything about President Abbas's response to these swaps, either like positive or negative?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. Well, I think on this issue, since May of 2011, we've established that the U.S. position on territories, it should be based on ‘67 borders with mutually agreed swaps. We don’t expect Israelis and Palestinians to publicly, in the middle of the negotiation, enunciate a position on that final status issue. That’s a subject for them to negotiate.
We believe that the United States, having laid that out in May of 2011, can provide some baseline for that negotiation. But again, that’s for the Israelis and Palestinians to determine through their direct talks. So I wouldn’t want to characterize President Abbas's view of the matter, nor Israel's for that matter, given that it's ultimately for them to work out.
What I would say is that we do see an opportunity here. They're in final status negotiations. They've already made some sacrifices and hard decisions -- the release of prisoners on the Israeli side, for instance; not pursuing the U.N. track, on the Palestinian side. Now it's imperative for them to accelerate their process of getting to those final status issues and resolving them through negotiation. And that’s the process we're going to support in the coming months.
5:49 P.M. EDT