Obama to meet Abbas and Netanyahu

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2009
Obama meeting: Binyamin Netanyahu

Obama meeting: Binyamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet US President Barack Obama separately in New York this week, with a trilateral meeting likely.

Mr Obama is expected to meet Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas individually before chairing a joint session.

If the meeting goes ahead, the three leaders are likely to meet at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, where Mr Obama is staying for the meeting of the UN general assembly.

Israeli commentators denounced the meeting as a "photo opportunity" and said it would be wholly symbolic.

In a statement Mr Netanyahu welcomed "the United States' invitation for talks with President Barack Obama and for a trilateral meeting with President Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas".

The proposed meeting follows a week of discussions with US Special Envoy George Mitchell in which Mr Mitchell and Mr Netanyahu failed to reach agreement over settlements.

During his time in New York, Mr Netanyahu is also set to meet President of France Nicolas Sarkozy and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He will give a speech at the UN general assembly, with the focus likely to be on the threat from Iran.

Last updated: 12:01pm, September 21 2009