Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Trump throws his hat into Mideast peace process ring

Kenny Thornton | 15 May, 2017, 00:01

US President Donald Trump asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop payments to families of Palestinians imprisoned on terror-related charges during their meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

Trump said any agreement can not be imposed by the United States, "or by any other nation", but said he hopes to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In statements from the Roosevelt room at the White House flanked by both the American and the Palestinian flags, Trump gave a much-needed boost to Abbas ahead of a working lunch with the delegation.

"We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians", Trump said.

Palestinians are watching closely, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who called on Trump to break with past approaches to Middle East peace.

Abbas said that Palestinians wish to see a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

"We will get it done". We believe you're willing.

"Over the course of my lifetime, I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians", Mr. Trump said.

President Donald Trump expressed confidence Wednesday that his administration can help the Israelis and the Palestinians find peace, a goal that has vexed US efforts for decades.

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Ross, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told reporters that "the gap between the parties has probably never been greater" but not impossible for Trump to overcome with a gradual trust-building approach.

Abbas praised Trump as a "deal maker" who could make it happen.

Mr. Trump added that he has conferred with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and he believes there is "a very, very good chance" for an agreement.

"There can not be lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violate - and violence and hate", Trump said.

Trump, while sounding hopeful about a peace deal, warned that "any agreement can not be imposed by the United States".

The president has said he's open to whatever deal the Israelis and Palestinians broker whether or not it involves a two-state solution.

Abbas said that Palestinians are raising their children in a "culture of peace", and that he aspires to a day when Palestinian children can grow up in a secure, peaceful and free environment. "After 50 years, we are the only remaining people in the world who still live under occupation".

Previously, Trump has expressed his hope for peace in the region. But he made no mention of any such issues in his public comments with Abbas on Wednesday.

The US president admired the "continued security coordination" between the PA and Israel, saying he was "actually very impressed and somewhat surprised" that "they get along unbelievably well".


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