Thursday 27 July 2017

Donald Trump invites Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to White House in first call since taking office

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)

US President Donald Trump has invited Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House to discuss resuming peace talks in their first contact since Mr Trump took office in January.

Mr Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said that Abbas would travel "very soon".

The White House said in a statement that the two leaders had discussed ways to advance peace throughout the Middle East, including a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The president emphasised his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal," the White House said.

"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."

Mr Trump underscored that such a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal, the statement said.

Donald Trump (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Donald Trump (Andrew Harnik/AP)

"We are ready to deal with President Trump and the Israeli government to resume the negotiations," Mr Abu Rdeneh said. "If the Israelis are ready, President Abbas has committed himself to a peaceful deal with President Trump."

Mr Abu Rdeneh added that "President Trump is a very honest man, very courageous man, looking for a deal, a just deal."

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli government.

The last round of US-mediated peace talks collapsed in 2014.

AP

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