A U.S. delegation led by Jared Kushner had a “productive” meeting with the Palestinian Authority on how to begin Middle East peace talks, the State Department said Friday, though some Palestinian officials expressed frustration that the U.S. still has not committed to a two-state solution.
Both sides agreed to continue with the U.S.-led conversations as the best way to reach a peace deal, the State Department statement said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also struck a positive note in public comments a day earlier after meeting with Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, and deputy national security adviser, Dina Powell, in Ramallah.
“We know that this delegation is working for peace, and we are working with it to achieve what President Trump has called a peace deal,” Abbas said at the beginning of the meeting, according to the Palestinian Authority’s news site Wafa. “We know that things are difficult and complicated, but there is nothing impossible with good efforts,” he said.
The U.S. team is in the Middle East in an attempt to find a way to kick start the peace process, which Trump has described as the “ultimate deal.” In addition to meetings with Israeli and Palestinian premiers on Thursday, they have also met with Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian and Qatari leaders during their trip.
But the U.S. delegation refrained from committing to a two-state solution – the primary focus of peace efforts for decades. That has rankled Palestinian officials, who say that negotiations without any set parameters will only benefit the Israeli side.
U.S. officials have said that they have not ruled out a two-state solution, but that it is down to the two sides, not them, to agree on a way forward.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Loveday Morris