Palestinian president will finally get chance to speak with Trump
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 13, 2017,
Mar 13, 2017, 0:25
He said it during his first phone call with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in which he invited the president to visit the White House sometime soon.
The conversation, described by an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as "very good", is Trump's first personal diplomatic overture to the Palestinians, though he has spoken to the leaders of several of its allies in the Arab world.
"President Abbas stressed the commitment to peace as a strategic choice to establish a Palestinian State alongside the state of Israel", Abu Rdainah said, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.
The U.S. has long advocated for a two-state solution for the dispute, but Trump abandoned that stance during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month.
In that vein, both the White House and Palestinian sources confirmed that Trump had invited Abbas to Washington for an upcoming visit. There has been no word of date for the Abbas White House meeting.
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.
Friday's telephone conversation was the first between Mr Trump and Mr Abbas since the former took office in January. He also named David Friedman, a former bankruptcy lawyer, as the USA ambassador to Israel.
The invitation marks an important shift in his policy towards the Palestinian Authority and is seen as an implicit recognition of the need to deal with it as a direct party to resolve the conflict in the region.
The White House has since been more cautious on the issue.
Trump has said he is open to outcomes to the conflict that don't necessarily end in two separate states.
The phone call between the two ended almost two months of what Palestinian officials said had been near-total silence between Ramallah and the new administration. "The president invited President Abbas to a meeting at the White House in the near future".
"We are ready to deal with President Trump and the Israeli government to resume the negotiations", Mr Abu Rdeneh said.
But he has backtracked on a swift relocation of the US Embassy, and publicly urged Netanyahu to "hold back" on settlement building.