President Trump said after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he sees a “very good chance” of a Middle East peace deal during his presidency.
"We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done. We will be working so hard to get it done,” Trump said Wednesday, standing beside Abbas at the White House.
Trump voiced confidence that he could apply his dealmaking skills to solve one of the world’s longest-running conflicts.
He promised Abbas that he would serve as a “mediator” in future talks with Israel but said it’s ultimately up to the two sides to broker a deal.
"Let's see if we can find the solution,” Trump said later during a luncheon with Abbas and his advisors. “It's something that, I think, is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”
Abbas also voiced optimism about the prospect of a peace deal, citing Trump’s “great negotiating ability.”
But Abbas also laid out goals for a “just and comprehensive” agreement: a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. He also called on Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the foundation of a future state.
Wednesday’s meeting, Abbas’s first with Trump since he became president, comes amid uncertainty about how Trump will handle the long-stalled Middle East peace process.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump espoused strong pro-Israel views, including a pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
But as president, Trump has yet to take steps to fulfill that promise and has declined to lay out a concrete roadmap to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Trump indicated during a February meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would be open to whatever deal Israel and the Palestinians could work out.
He also declined to clearly endorse an independent Palestinian state at the time. White House aides later said he would back an agreement upon which the two parties agreed.