Obama to Palestinians: Peace won't be easy

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE | September 24, 2013 | 4:36 PM EDT

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama says no one is under the illusion that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will be easy. But he says Palestinians realize that negotiations are the best and only way to achieve a two-state solution.

Obama spoke Tuesday at a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. He praised Abbas for consistently rejecting violence and being open to negotiations.

Abbas said he remained fully committed to the peace process and thanked the U.S. for supporting the process. He said the goal is an independent Palestinian state.

Talks on Mideast peace resumed this summer following months of prodding by Secretary of State John Kerry. Obama plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH'-hoo) next week in Washington.