In a Monday phone call, US President Donald Trump told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that it is time to work towards a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The statements came ahead of a Moscow meeting between Putin and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump and Putin Photo Credit: Wikipedia
US President Donald Trump spoke with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a Monday phone call to express his condolences after the fatal crash of Saratov Airlines Flight 703, the White House said in a statement. The two leaders discussed Middle Eastern tensions, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as well as North Korea’s nuclear program, among other topics of mutual concern.
During the call, Trump told Putin that “now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the White House statement. The discussion between the two leaders came ahead of a scheduled meeting between Putin and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which took place in Moscow on Monday.
Abbas has continuously slammed the Trump administration since the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year. During the meeting in Russia, Abbas told the Russian president that the Palestinians refuse to carry out peace talks mediated by the US. Putin discussed the phone conversation with the Palestinian leader and conveyed to him the best wishes of the US president.
As previously reported by JOL, Trump said in an interview with the Israeli daily Israel Hayom that the Palestinians “aren’t willing” to reach a peace agreement but added that Israel might not be ready for it either. Trump also said the Israeli settlements in the West Bank “complicate” matters, stating that Israel “needs to act with caution on the topic of settlements.” Just two weeks ago, Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told EU ambassadors that the president does not consider Israeli settlements to be an obstacle to peace.
On Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers Israel is discussing the annexation of West Bank settlements with US President Donald Trump’s administration. However, a few hours after Israeli media began reporting about Netanyahu’s statement, the White House stressed that Trump has never discussed such a proposal with Israel.
“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” White House spokesperson Josh Raffel stated. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the President’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.”