US President Barack Obama will hold talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the White House said.
Obama is due to address the annual assembly of world leaders on Tuesday and will also find time to meet one-on-one with Abbas, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and Lebanon’s Michel Sleiman, spokesman Ben Rhodes said.
The meeting with Abbas comes six days before the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House amid ongoing Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations.
“This is the President’s first opportunity to meet personally and at length with President Abbas since the launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Rhodes said.
“The President will have an opportunity to hear firsthand from President Abbas about the progress of those negotiations,” he added.
“This is an important opportunity for him to reinforce the support of the United States for the progress that is under way for the Middle East peace, and to welcome the courageous steps that have been taken by both leaders and reinforcing the need to continue to make progress given the opportunity that is presented through these negotiations.”
Obama’s meeting with Lebanese leader Sleiman will focus on the refugee crisis triggered by the war in neighboring Syria.
“This will give him an opportunity to discuss the extraordinary refugee challenge confronted by Lebanon as they have to take onboard many hundreds of thousands of Syrians who crossed the border,” Rhodes said.
“The US has provided support for Lebanon in dealing with that challenge, and the leaders will be able to discuss the refugee situation as well as the broader situation in Syria.”