President Mahmoud Abbas “hopeful” after Trump meeting

PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that his first meeting with Donald Trump had left him hopeful, even though they did not discuss specifics about how to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Mr Abbas voiced his belief that the Trump administration can play an important role as mediator.

“What is needed is to bring the two parties together, to bring them closer and then to facilitate things between them,” he said following his White House meeting.

“So far, we didn’t talk about a mechanism, but the contacts between us and the Americans began and will continue,” he added.

He suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is avoiding talks.

“We had planned to meet in Moscow, but he didn’t show up,” Mr Abbas said, referring to recent Russian efforts to set up a meeting.

The US President also struck a surprisingly optimistic note, asserting that a deal can be reached, but he gave no indication what sort of solution he envisages.


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