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PRESS RELEASE


Trump Meets with Palestinian President Abbas, Says Chance for Israel-Palestine Peace Is ‘Very Good’

May 4, 2017 (EIRNS)—In his first official meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 3, Donald Trump indicated that he is considering mediating an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement where his predecessors all failed. Statements were exchanged on the possibility of a Palestinian-Israeli settlement. In his opening statement Trump told Abbas,

"I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement—to mediate, to arbitrate anything they’d like to do. But I would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator. And we will get this done."

Abbas said the Palestinian leadership’s "strategic option" is to pursue a two-state solution for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Appealing to Trump’s leadership, Abbas said that

"I believe that we are capable under your leadership and your stewardship to—your courageous stewardship and your wisdom, as well as your great negotiating ability, I believe, with the grace of God and with all of your effort—we believe that we can be partners, true partners, to you to bring about a historic peace treaty under your stewardship to bring about peace. [In English.] Now, Mr. President, with you we have hope."

After this statement by Abbas, Trump again spoke, saying:

"So we’re going to start a process. We’ve spoken to Bibi Netanyahu. We’ve spoken to many of the great Israeli leaders. We’ve spoken with many of your great representatives. Many of them are here today for lunch with us. We’ll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace. 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. Let’s see if we can prove them wrong. Okay?"

After a private meeting, the two Presidents had a conference joined by their staffs. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and senior advisor Jared Kushner were in attendance and later were joined by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell, along with National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt, who recently toured the Middle East, is expected to update Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) about the Abbas-Trump meeting on Thursday in Brussels, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. The two will meet on the sidelines of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee annual spring meeting hosted by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende. Palestinian and United Nations representatives will also attend the meeting, which coordinates donor funding to the Palestinian Authority.