Trump Invites PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says U.S. President Donald Trump has assured him of his commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. "The president noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world".

Following the Trump-Abbas phone call, the Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as saying that Trump stressed his "commitment to a peace process that would lead to a real peace between Palestinians and Israelis".

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, said Mr Abbas had received a "very important call" from the U.S. president in which he was invited to Washington and that he would attend "very soon".

At a February 15 news conference during Netanyahu's visit, Trump was ambivalent about a two-state solution, the mainstay of U.S. policy in the region for the past two decades.

The conversation, described by an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as "very good", is Trump's first personal diplomatic overture to the Palestinians, though he has spoken to the leaders of several of its allies in the Arab world.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state [solutions], and I like the one that both parties like", he said.

The president vowed such a pact must be directly negotiated between Israel and Palestine, the White House noted, adding the US would work closely with each party on reaching that goal.

Palestinian officials said Thursday that they're expecting a visit from Trump's special envoy on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the next few days.

Former PA official and Abbas associate Ashraf al-Ajami told Army Radio in a separate interview on Sunday that the Palestinians do not want to see the United States pull away from the peace process. Although the sovereignty issue was never mentioned, the settlement issue was when President Trump told visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference to "lay off" the building for a while.

During the campaign, Mr Trump said he did not necessarily see Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace and since his inauguration, Israel has announced plans to build at least 6,000 more settler homes. Netanyahu visited the White House in mid-February.



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