TRUMP IN­VITES AB­BAS TO WHITE HOUSE

Lead­ers keen to dis­cuss ways to re­sume po­lit­i­cal process

New Straits Times - - World -

UNITED States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day in­vited Pales­tinian leader Mah­moud Ab­bas to visit the White House some time soon, both sides said af­ter the first phone call be­tween the pair since Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary.

Trump in­vited Ab­bas “to visit the White House soon to dis­cuss ways to re­sume the (Pales­tini­anIs­raeli) po­lit­i­cal process”, the of­fi­cial Pales­tinian news agency Wafa quoted Ab­bas’s spokesman as say­ing. Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said Trump stressed his “com­mit­ment to a peace process that would lead to a real peace be­tween Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis”.

Ab­bas told Trump that peace was a “strate­gic choice” that should lead to the “es­tab­lish­ment of a Pales­tinian state along­side Is­rael”.

In Wash­ing­ton, the White House said Trump “em­pha­sised his per­sonal be­lief that peace is pos­si­ble, and that the time has come to make a deal”.

“The pres­i­dent noted that the US can­not im­pose a so­lu­tion on the Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis, nor can one side im­pose an agree­ment on the other.

“The pres­i­dent in­vited Pres­i­dent Ab­bas to a meet­ing at the White House in the near fu­ture.”

Trump re­ceived Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu at the White House in mid­dle of last month. At that meet­ing, Trump broke decades of US pol­icy by say­ing he was not bound to the two-state so­lu­tion for end­ing the Pales­tinian-Is­raeli con­flict.

The peace process has been dead­locked since April 2014 fol­low­ing the col­lapse of in­di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions led by then US sec­re­tary of state John Kerry.

Since Trump came to power hav­ing pledged to lead the most pro-Is­rael US ad­min­is­tra­tion in history, Pales­tinian of­fi­cials have been alarmed by their lack of ac­cess to se­nior fig­ures in the White House.

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