TRUMP INVITES ABBAS TO WHITE HOUSE
Leaders keen to discuss ways to resume political process
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.