Washington: Infuriated over Palestinian leaders' drive for statehood, the US on Friday warned them that they cannot achieve it by passing of a resolution at the United Nations and insisted that the best way to get it is through negotiations with Israel.

"The Palestinians will not, and cannot, achieve statehood through a declaration at the United Nations. It is a distraction, and it's counterproductive," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
"That remains our position. We continue to be focused with great intensity on the need to get Israelis and Palestinians together again in direct negotiations, because that is the path towards a two-state solution and Palestinian statehood," he said.

President Barack Obama, he said, believes that the only way to resolve the issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis and to ultimately create a Palestinian state is through direct negotiations.

US has threatened to veto any Palestinian application for full membership of the UN or go to the General Assembly for enhanced observer membership this month.

In San Francisco, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Palestinians that their effort is shortsighted and cannot succeed, saying the road to peace and two states living side by side does not go through New York.
"It goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah," she said.

"It is our absolute conviction that we need to get the parties back into negotiations on a direct face-to-face basis and that they have to be at that negotiating table working through the framework that President Obama laid out in May.

That remains our focus. We are absolutely committed to pursuing that," Clinton said. "We are working closely with a range of international partners, and we intend to keep our attention where we think it needs to be, which is how we can try to convince both sides to do what must be done in order to bring about a resolution of the issues between them, and that’s going to be certainly the core of all of our efforts for the next several days," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, two US Senators Ben Cardin and Susan Collins wrote a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas imploring him to return to direct negotiations with Israel and urging him to avoid actions that would be counterproductive to a permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"We strongly urge you not to pursue a unilateral declaration of statehood or recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations later this month. We believe this action does not further the peace process," they wrote.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said such a move will take them away from the goal of achieving real, lasting peace and security between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We need to make it clear, publicly and privately, that all of our governments will vote 'no' if any resolutions come up at the UN to admit 'Palestine' as a Member, to upgrade the status of the Palestinian observer, or to otherwise recognize or support Palestinian statehood prior to a final, negotiated peace agreement," she said.