JERUSALEM, Israel - U.S. State Department spokesman said the Palestinian National Authority's plan to seek U.N. approval for statehood is not "a good idea."
"We don't believe it's a good idea. We don't believe it's helpful," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "We continue to press both sides to begin talking again in direct negotiations," he said.
P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas has been meeting with heads of state to seek backing at the United Nations in September for a Palestinian state based on the 1949 armistice lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
"We are counting on the words of U.S. President Barack Obama, who said his vision is to see a Palestinian state this coming September according to a deadline set by the Quartet," Abbas said during a visit to Tunisia.
Abbas travels to France from Tunisia on Wednesday to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In May, he is planning to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Senior P.A. official Nabil Sha'ath said they hope to secure recognition by two-thirds of U.N. member nations by September, the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.
"By September we would have won the recognition of two-thirds of the U.N. members. This will entitle us to go to the Security Council and demand full membership," Sha'ath said.
"Then we could become a member with full rights in the General Assembly, which means that the independent state of Palestine, which is a U.N. member, would have its territories occupied by another U.N. member," he said.
Sha'ath said the P.A. is continuing its efforts to build its institutions and isolate Israel internationally.