Trump envoy to meet Palestinian President as US tries to kickstart peace talks

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to meet Donald Trump at the White House amid fresh attempts to kick-start peace talks with Israel.Reuters

Donald Trump's Middle East envoy will meet with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank tomorrow, after spending five hours with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

Jason Greenblatt is in the region in an attempt to kick-start the dormant 'peace process' between Israel and the Palestinians.

During his meeting with Netanyahu, 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,' according to a statement released by the Israeli PM's office.

The statement added that Netanyahu and Greenblatt discussed Israel's settlement building 'with the hope of reaching a formula that will aim to promote peace and security'.

One of the most heated issues between Israel and the Palestinians is the former's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians want for their own future state along with the Gaza Strip.

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Trump's predecessor Barack Obama took a hard line against the settlements, and Trump himself raised them with Netanyahu when the two men met at the White House last month.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians remain concerned at the apparently pro-Israel position adopted by the Trump administration, which has controversially pledged to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump spoke to Abbas on the telephone on Friday and invited him to the White House, in the first phone call between the two leaders since Trump took office.

Before taking office, Trump named Greenblatt, a top lawyer, as his special negotiator for trade deals and other talks and his adviser to the Middle East and special representative for international negotiations.

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