Abbas to Trump: Peace agreement must be based on two-state solution

President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House

Abbas called for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

"It's something that I think is frankly maybe not as hard as people have thought over the years".

He was also clear that Palestine wants a two-state solution, a long-held USA stance that Mr Trump was open to changing earlier this year.

"We believe that we are capable and able to bring about success to our efforts", Abbas said.

But at the same time, he didn't offer any new strategy about how peace could be achieved.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived at the White House.

Abbas pointed toward a likely partnership while crediting Trump's "great negotiating ability".

Abbas also said "peace" would allow Israel an opportunity to normalize ties with the Arab states. "And I think you feel the same way", Trump said to Abbas, standing next to him. Israel considers such payments a reward for terrorists, while the Palestinians consider them welfare payments for victims of Israeli occupation.

Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority's strategic choice is to end the conflict. United States officials said such a request was raised in preparatory talks with Palestinian officials, and three Republican senators urged a halt to such payments in a letter to Trump that reflected widespread opinion in Congress.

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"Mr. President, you signed your name to the first Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement", he said.

Trump noted that over the course of his life he'd heard "that perhaps the toughest deal to make" is the one between Israel and Palestine.

But mutual distrust between Palestinians and Israelis will be a formidable, if not impossible, barrier for Trump to overcome. He also said that he'd "love to be a mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator" between the two sides, suggesting a return to the premise of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which mandated "that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations". Trump concluded his statement challenging the naysayers, and said "let's see if we can prove them wrong".

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Trump asserted that "any agreement can not be imposed by the United States or by any other nation", and that it was up to Israel and the Palestinians to work out peace between themselves.

Trump and Abbas were to spend much of the day together at the White House.

And in his White House meeting with Netanyahu on February 15, Trump raised another sensitive issue: Israeli settlements on land in dispute with the Palestinians.

Trump called on Palestinians to renounce violence and to unite both Fatah and Hamas to negotiate with Israel.

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