Trump emphasised his belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal.
Trump emphasised his belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal.

US President Donald Trump on Friday called Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to invite him to the White House.

The two leaders held their first phone call since Trump took office.

Trump told Abbas that he believes a peace deal between Israel and Palestine must be negotiated directly by the two sides.

The spokesman for the Palestinian leader said he is hopeful talks can resume.

The White House said that Trump "emphasised his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal."

The president [Trump] noted that the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other – US statement

Trump told Abbas that the US would work closely with both sides toward that goal, the White House said.

Trump stressed his "commitment to a peace process that would lead to real peace between Palestinians and Israelis," the official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina as saying.

Abbas told Trump that peace was a "strategic choice" for the Palestinian people that should lead to the "establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel."

Israeli and Palestinian members of the
Israeli and Palestinian members of the "Parents Circle Families Forum", an organisation of more than 600 families who have seen a family member die in the conflict, march in a demonstration near the West Bank village of al-Khader on March 10. (AFP)

Deadlocked peace process

Trump received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in mid-February.

At the meeting, Trump broke decades of US policy by saying he was not bound to the two-state solution for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like ... I can live with either one," Trump said at the time, causing dismay across the Arab world and in many European capitals.

The peace process has been deadlocked since April 2014 following the collapse of indirect negotiations led by then US secretary of state John Kerry.

On Tuesday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, met for the first time with the Palestinian envoy to the world body, Riyad Mansour.

Haley also stressed on the need for a peace deal directly negotiated by the Palestinians and Israel.

Israel has long favoured direct bilateral talks, while the Palestinians argue they need the international community to ensure Israel follows through on its pledges.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies