UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed their commitments to supporting the peace process in the Middle East as they met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Tuesday.
Before the meeting, Obama also said Abbas has "consistently rejected violence" and "has recognized the need for peace," according to a news release from the White House.
Obama said the United States "remains deeply committed to bringing about a just and lasting peace to a conflict that has been going on too long." "None of us are under any illusion that this would be easy," he noted.
Abbas said the Palestinians are fully committed to the peace process. "We have to overcome several difficulties, but we realize that peace in the Middle East is not just important for the Palestinians and Israelis, it's important for the entire region and the world."
In a speech given to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning, Obama said that in the near term, U.S. diplomatic efforts will focus primarily on stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"While these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace," he added.
Obama is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week at the White House.