Trump, Abbas say peace deal with Israel is possible

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City

"President Abbas noted that he was ready to begin negotiating immediately", the release stated on Tuesday.

"You, First Wife, First Family, First Lady Melania Trump, your family and your delegation, you've shown a great commitment to Israel's future and to its security", the Israeli leader said. We all know that. Donald Trump, with his apparent lack of interest both in policy detail and in pretending the U.S.is a neutral party, could be uniquely qualified to accomplish what has eluded his predecessors. And so many people I spoke to here, Israelis and Palestinians, said, why should Trump be any different?

Still, White House officials had downplayed the prospects for a breakthrough on this trip, saying it was important to manage their ambitions as they wade into terrain that has tripped up more experienced diplomats.

The parts of the speech offering a robust defense of Israel drew loud applause, which seemed to energize Trump on the second leg of his first foreign trip since taking office.

"I'm personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement", Trump said.

He, however, offered no specifics on how he planned to make progress in resolving the conflict, with widespread scepticism over whether meaningful talks are possible for now.

Matty Stern/ZUMA Press/NewscomFor decades American presidents have tried, with varying degrees of effort and to varying degrees of success, to negotiate a peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But in his public remarks, Trump steered clear of any such language, and did not mention what has been the goal of U.S. diplomacy for two decades: a state of Israel and an independent Palestinian state coexisting side-by-side.

PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian Authority (through interpreter): Our fundamental problem is with the occupation and settlements, and failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine, in the same way we recognize it.

He had met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

Abbas had sought to convince the unpredictable U.S. president to remain committed to an independent Palestinian state.

He said he was keen to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbours to build confidence and create a real opportunity for peace".

Abbas reiterated his call for a two-state solution to the conflict, including a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

After slapping Trump's hand in Israel, the former model has deftly defied her husband's attempt to hold her hand once again shortly after they touched down in Rome. It's the couple's third stop in the administration's first global tour; they were in Saudi Arabia over the weekend and Israel earlier this week.

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