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Abbas Ready to Meet with Netanyahu under US Auspices | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a press conference in Ramallah. (WAFA)

Ramallah – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he was ready to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the auspices of US President Donald Trump.

Abbas noted he had informed Trump of his decision during their meeting at the White House last week.

“We told him that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli PM under his auspices to build peace,” Abbas told reporters during a joint news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Ramallah.

“We reaffirm our commitment to peace based on justice, international legitimacy and the two-state solution, the pursuit of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and living side by side with the State of Israel in security, peace and good-neighborly relations,” Abbas stated.

Abbas received Steinmeier at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah where both leaders discussed latest developments in the region, including Abbas’s recent visit to the US and his meeting with Trump.

On the other hand, the Palestinian president said that Trump has accepted his invitation to meet in Bethlehem at the end of this month.

The US president is expected to arrive in Israel on May 22, and would then visit Bethlehem in the West Bank, in a move seen as a push towards the resumption of peace talks.

Last week, Trump said that he would head to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican and Brussels on his first official visits since he took office in January. However, he did not announce any scheduled trip to the Palestinian territories.

Steinmeier, for his part, stressed that the two-state solution should be the basis for any negotiations aimed at resolving the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.

He also underlined his country’s continued efforts to build the Palestinian State and its institutions, strengthen the Palestinian civil police and provide support for infrastructure projects to improve living conditions of Palestinians, especially in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian presidential spokesperson told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that Abbas gave Trump, during their meeting last week, documents and maps with the details of the 2008 proposal submitted by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and which was rejected by the Palestinian Authority at that time.

“At that time, they discussed territorial swaps of 1.9 percent whereas Olmert suggested 6.3 percent. That was the end of the negotiations because Olmert left the political arena,” the spokesman was quoted by Haaretz as saying.

“We told President Trump and his team that the gaps [between the Palestinians and Israelis] were not so wide and that [those documents and maps] would be a good starting point for negotiations about borders,” he added, according to Haaretz.