Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo and thanked him for supporting the Palestinians’ November UN statehood bid.

“I thank Iran for supporting the Palestinian move to achieve the status of observer state at the UN,” Abbas said after the meeting.

In October, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN was doomed to fail and that any deal that accepted the existence of Israel would leave a “cancerous tumor” forever threatening the security of the Middle East.

According to Palestinian official news network WAFA, Abbas spoke at the conference addressing the diplomatic process, the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis and Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. He urged Israel to halt settlement building and said he would turn to international forums for help if Israel did not do so.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the Palestinians hope US President Barack Obama’a upcoming visit will spark the “beginning of a new American policy which would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Abu Rudeineh added that Abbas welcomed the visit and is looking forward to cooperating with the president.