Palestinian president says ready to meet Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is ready to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the resumption of the long-stalled so-called peace talks between Israel and Palestinians.

Abbas told reporters during talks with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday that he was ready to meet Netanyahu in line with efforts by US President Donald Trump to revive the talks.

Abbas, who met Trump in Washington last week for their first face-to-face talks, said the US president was expected to visit the occupied Palestinian territories “soon.” There are speculations that the visit will occur on May 23.

“We told him that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli PM under his auspices to build peace,” media outlets quoted Abbas as saying. “We told him again of our commitment to a peace based on justice, with international resolutions and the two-state solution as references.”

“We are looking forward to his visit soon to Bethlehem” in the occupied West Bank, Abbas added.

Trump announced last week that his first foreign trip as president would include stops in Saudi Arabia, the occupied Palestinian territories and the Vatican.

The US president has been seeking ways to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

The last round of the so-called peace talks collapsed in April 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

The Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law as they are built on occupied territories.

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