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) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to grant his people member-state status.

Israeli diplomats skirted out of the U.N. General Assembly as Abbas approached the dais to bid for statehood after decades of failed negotiations with Israel.

"After the failure of all other methods

to win independence we reached a stage of desperation," Abbas said. "This is a good attempt to put the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people on the map."

President Barack Obama attempted to persuade Abbas to end his bid for U.N. membership earlier this week, but the Palestinian leader ignored the request as he said that previous policies were responsible for the failure of earlier international attempts to salvage peace.

"Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them," Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday in an attempt to convince the body of nations that it was not the responsibility of the United Nations to determine the fate of Palestinian statehood.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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