Trump envoy for Middle East meets with Netanyahu in Jerusalem

© Reuters. Trump‘s Middle East Envoy Meets With Netanyahu In Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday, Netanyahu’s office said, as the new administration tries to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.

A statement from the Israeli leader’s office said Jason Greenblatt “reaffirmed President Trump’s commitment to the security of Israel and to the effort to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve lasting peace through direct negotiations.”

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014 and the Palestinians have been concerned about the more favorable approach shown by Washington towards Netanyahu since Trump took office in January.

The statement added that during a conversation that lasted more than five hours, Netanyahu and Greenblatt discussed Israel’s settlement construction “in the hope of reaching a formula that aims to promote peace and security.”

One of the hottest issues between Israel and the Palestinians is Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory that the Palestinians want for their own future state along with the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, Trump spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and invited him to the White House. It was the first phone call between the two leaders since Trump took office. Greenblatt will meet Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday.

The Israeli statement added that “Greenblatt emphasized how important it is for President Trump to enable the growth of the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life for Palestinians.”

Before taking office, Trump appointed Greenblatt, his company’s top attorney, as his special negotiator for trade deals and other talks and his adviser for the Middle East and special representative for international negotiations.

(This version of the story was republished to remove superfluous words in paragraph 1)

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