Obama urges Abbas to get to final status with Netanyahu

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to advance to final status issues in his peace talks with Israel.

“He encouraged President Abbas, as he has [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] 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,” a senior administration official said in a briefing transcript released by the White House after the leaders met in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.


“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 official said.

The show of U.S. impatience was a rare window into the peace talks relaunched in June at the behest of Secretary of State John Kerry, who imposed a tight stricture on leaks which all sides have mostly observed.

Kerry wants a comprehensive deal by the middle of next year, and the sides got off to an auspicious start, with the Palestinians agreeing to drop a precondition that Israel freeze settlements and suspending to achieve statehood recognition in international bodies, and with Israel agreeing to release 104 long-term prisoners.