US President Donald Trump has invited Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for a visit to the White House, in the first phone call between the two leaders since Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
Trump invited Abbas “to visit the White House soon to discuss ways to resume the [Palestinian-Israeli] political process”, Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, quoted Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina as saying on Friday.
The White House said in a statement that Trump invited Abbas to a meeting at the White House “in the near future”.
#US President @realDonaldTrump invites #Palestine's Mahmoud #Abbas to the White House https://t.co/EwRobQXs7C
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) March 11, 2017
Abbas told Trump that peace was a “strategic choice” for the Palestinian people which should lead to the “establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel,” Wafa reported.
The White House said Trump told Abbas that he believes a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians must be negotiated directly by the both sides.
“The president emphasised his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal,” according to a White House statement.
Trump tells Abbas "the time has come to make a deal" https://t.co/5uOypyipey
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) March 11, 2017
Trump’s pick for ambassador, David Friedman, was approved on Thursday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His nomination heads next to the full Senate for a vote.
He has been criticized for inflammatory language used in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including calling the two-state solution “a scam”.
In his confirmation hearing, he said that Israeli settlements, which he previously strongly supported, may not be helpful to the peace process.
Israel’s right-wing leaders can’t agree on how to take advantage of Trump’s presidency https://t.co/vNfvwq33UK pic.twitter.com/Cx8qfInn8t
— Bloomberg (@business) March 11, 2017
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law and have been major stumbling blocks in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)