Trump envoy, Netanyahu discuss peace and settlements

2017-03-14 13:50
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Abir Sultan, pool via AP, File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Abir Sultan, pool via AP, File)

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Jerusalem - US President Donald Trump's special envoy Jason Greenblatt and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed ways to reach peace with the Palestinians as well as settlement construction, a statement said Tuesday.

The meeting, held in Netanyahu's Jerusalem office late on Monday, lasted five hours, according to the premier's office.

The two "reaffirmed the joint commitment of both Israel and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region", the statement read.

They also "continued discussions relating to settlement construction in the hope of working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security".

The international community considers continuing settlement growth in the West Bank a major obstacle to peace.

According to the statement, Greenblatt "reaffirmed President Trump's commitment to Israel's security and to the effort to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations".

Greenblatt was due to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.

The statement cited Netanyahu as telling Greenblatt he believed "it is possible to advance peace" while Trump is in the White House.

Greenblatt himself wrote on Twitter that he had a "very positive and productive meeting" with Netanyahu during which they "discussed regional situation, how progress towards peace with Palestinians can be made & settlements".

On Friday, Trump invited Abbas to visit the White House "soon" to discuss ways to resume the peace process.

Netanyahu met with Trump at the White House last month, during which the US president broke with decades of US policy by saying he was not bound to a two-state solution to the conflict.

The peace process has been deadlocked since April 2014 following the collapse of indirect negotiations led by then US secretary of state John Kerry.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine  |  us  |  middle east peace

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