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May 3, 2017 3:01 pm

Let Me Help Palestinians Sign Final Agreement With Israel, Trump Tells Abbas

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas came to the White House for the first time in nearly three years on Wednesday for a meeting with President Trump. Photo: Screenshot.

President Donald Trump offered a warm welcome to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), on Wednesday at a joint White House appearance prior to their closed-door discussions.

Trump began his remarks with a reminder that Abbas had been in attendance when the PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed their 1994 agreement in the White House Rose Garden.

“I want to support you in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, and prosperity to both peoples and to the region,” Trump told Abbas. “Any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States, nor by any other nation.” Trump said his role in any negotiations would be as “an arbitrator, a mediator and a facilitator.”

Trump used the occasion to renew his call to defeat the Islamic State terrorist organizations. “Peace means defeating ISIS and other terrorist groups,” the president said. He spoke warmly of the American relationship with the PA security forces, and lauded the PA’s cooperation with the Israeli military.

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“They get along unbelievably well…they work together beautifully,” Trump said.

Trump also warned of the dangers of incitement. “There can be no lasting peace unless Palestinian leaders speak in a united voice against incitement and hate,” he said. All children, he said, “must be taught to value and respect human life and condemn those who target the innocent.”

Responding, Abbas claimed that “We are raising our children and grandchildren in a culture of peace…We want them to live in peace with Israeli children.”

Trump was emphatic in his commitment to securing the elusive final deal. “We will get it done, we will be working so hard to get it done. It’s been a long time, I think there’s a good chance,” he said. Turning to Abbas, he added, “and I think you feel the same way.”

Abbas paid tribute to Trump’s “determination” and his “desire to see the process to fruition.”

“I believe that we can be true partners to you to bring about a historic peace treaty,” Abbas said.

 

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