RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – US President Barack Obama assured Mahmud Abbas by telephone on Friday of his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Palestinian leader’s spokesman said.
“Mr. Obama promised Mr. Abbas to make all efforts for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living in security, peace and stability alongside Israel,” Nabil Abou Roudeina told AFP, adding that the US leader had called Abbas.
The call followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s White House meeting with Obama on Tuesday, in which the two leaders discussed a number of issues, including Israel’s stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.
“President Abbas received a phone call from President Obama about the latest political events, in particular the meeting of Mr. Obama with Netanyahu,” Roudeina said.
He said that Abbas had assured Obama of his own commitment “to a peace process that is serious and continuous, and which leads to the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories… and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”
Abbas had stressed to Obama the US leader’s role in a “serious, lasting” peace process which would bring to an end what he called the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and to the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
The White House confirmed the telephone conversation took place, saying Obama “noted the positive momentum generated by the recent improvements on the ground in Gaza and in the West Bank, the restraint shown by both sides in recent months, and progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks.”
“He and President Abbas reviewed ways to advance to direct talks in the near term, in order to reach an agreement that ends the conflict, and establishes an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama also said that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell would travel to the region soon and meet Abbas “to build on this momentum to advance our common goals.”