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Mahmoud Abbas meets Donald Trump in key US visit

US President Donald Trump meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the first time in the White House.

Trump hosts Abbas

US President Donald Trump has promised to revive the stalled Israel-Palestine peace process after hosting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, without, however, offering any details about how to resolve the long-running conflict. 

Speaking after their first face-to-face meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Trump pledged to support Abbas "in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and the most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, prosperity to both peoples and to the region".

He also said he believes Israelis and Palestinians are both willing to make a deal.

"I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Trump said.

"Let's see if we can prove them wrong," he added. "We will get it done."

On his part, Abbas reiterated the Palestinian demand for an independent Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Our strategic and sole option is to achieve the two-state solution, the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital to live side by side in peace, safety and stability together with the state of Israel along 1967 borders," he said.

"We are the only people in the world who remains occupied that is why we are seeking our freedom, our dignity and the right of self-determination."

Abbas also told Trump that the Palestinians had hope in him.

"We rely totally on God Almighty, then on you and we promise to be true partners to achieve a historic peace agreement," he said.

Trump said that any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States.

"The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship and thrive and prosper in peace," he said.


READ MORE: Hamas accepts Palestinian state with 1967 borders


Abbas made the trip to Washington while politically unpopular back home, with polls suggesting most Palestinians want the 82-year-old to resign.

He is hoping Trump can pressure Israel into concessions he believes are necessary to salvage a two-state solution to one of the world's longest-running conflicts.    

Abbas and Trump spoke by phone on March 11, and there are suggestions the US president could visit the Middle East this month.

Though expectations are low, plans are being firmed up for Trump to visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and possibly Abbas in the West Bank, on May 22-23, according to people familiar with the matter.

US and Israeli officials have declined to confirm the visit.

Mutual distrust between Palestinians and Israelis will be a formidable, if not impossible, barrier for Trump to overcome.

Trump faces deep scepticism at home and abroad over his chances for a breakthrough.

National Security Adviser HR McMaster said on Tuesday night that Trump "does not have time to debate over doctrine", and instead seeks to challenge failed policies of the past with a businessman's results-oriented approach.


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