AFP WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it would block a Palestinian drive for recognition in the United Nations Security Council because it was the only way to help Palestinians frame a genuine state. In a move that has infuriated Washington and Israel, Palestinian leaders have said they will lodge an application for full membership of the UN or go to the General Assembly for enhanced observer membership this month. But Washington has threatened to veto the application if it is made in the Security Council, saying it would harm prospects for peace talks and that a Palestinian state can only result from negotiations with Israel. “We have taken the position we’ve taken because we do not believe it is ultimately in the interests of Middle East peace, of the process,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “It doesn’t bring the two sides closer together. It would not bring the Palestinians any closer to statehood, and we believe that it would be counterproductive to that goal.” “Our approach is one that we think is in the interests of helping the Palestinians reach their ultimate goal, and the only way they’re going to reach that goal is through direct negotiations with the Israelis.” Envoys from the United States and the European Union are holding talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in an effort to get them back into direct peace talks that stalled a year ago. Washington is believed to fear that vetoing the Palestinian statehood move could undercut its calls for reform in other parts of the Arab world as people rise up against autocratic leaders. But President Barack Obama is under heavy domestic pressure from Israel and domestically to prevent the statehood drive at the United Nations.