Friday, March 10, 2017

3/10/2017: Trump invites Abbas to the White House

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/226497

PA chairman invited to visit White House during first phone call with President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump invited Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the White House during their telephone conversation on Friday, Abbas’s spokesman said.

"President Donald Trump invited President Abbas to visit the White House very soon," the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said after the phone call, according to Haaretz.

The phone call was the first contact between the two leaders. A PA spokesperson quoted by the newspaper said Trump initiated the conversation and Abbas was planning to state his commitment to working with the president for peace.

The announcement of the conversation came following a report that Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, will visit Israel next week.

Channel 2 News reported that Greenblatt’s visit aims to help determine the Trump administration’s policy on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Trump has prioritized the issue of Israel-PA peace, naming both Greenblatt as well as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to be in charge of the peace process.

The president has thus far been unclear on how he sees the solution to the conflict. At his recent meeting in Washington with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Trump would not commit to the two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict, saying he would back whatever solution the sides decide on.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” said Trump. “I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one."

Trump then told Reuters in an interview he likes the concept of a two-state solution, but reiterated he would be “satisfied with whatever makes both parties happy.”

Friday’s conversation was the first direct contact between Trump and Abbas, but reports last month indicated that CIA chief Mike Pompeo had met Abbas in Ramallah.

Israel-PA peace talks have been frozen since 2014, when the PA unilaterally applied to join international organizations in breach of the conditions of talks that were going on at the time, led by former Secretary of State John Kerry.

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