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Donald Trump invites Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to White House

SKY NEWS
SKY NEWS
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017 2:18 AM GMT

Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to visit the White House by Donald Trump to discuss resuming peace talks.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, said Mr Abbas had received a "very important call" from the US president in which he was invited to Washington and that he would attend "very soon".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer also confirmed the invitation to Mr Abbas.

"We are ready to deal with President Trump and the Israeli government to resume the negotiations," Mr Abu Rdeneh said.

"If the Israelis are ready, President Abbas has committed himself to a peaceful deal with President Trump."

He added: "President Trump is a very honest man, very courageous man, looking for a deal, a just deal."

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli government.

The last round of peace talks mediated by the US collapsed in 2014.

Friday's telephone conversation was the first between Mr Trump and Mr Abbas since the former took office in January.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken with Mr Trump on the phone at least twice since his inauguration, and Mr Netanyahu visited Washington last month.

Mr Abbas has spent numerous hours on the phone and in meetings with US presidents and secretaries of state over the last decade in an attempt to secure Palestinian statehood.

Mr Trump is unpopular among Palestinians because he appeared to break with established US policy on a two-state solution and adopt a friendlier position towards the Israeli government.

He is considering moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city which Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.

The US president has also adopted a more lenient approach to Israeli settlement building in territory claimed by Palestinians.

However, Mr Trump's administration last week warned Israel against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, saying it would trigger an "immediate crisis" between Israel and the US.

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