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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Saudi Arabia 'optimistic' about Trump's peace efforts

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, said on Saturday that Saudi King Salman told is optimistic about U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
 
Speaking at a press conference alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is accompanying Trump on his first trip abroad, Jubeir said Trump and King Salman had a “very, very good and very wide-ranging conversation”, according to The Huffington Post.
The king “expressed the kingdom’s optimism that President Trump, with a new approach and determination, can bring a conclusion to this long conflict,” Jubeir added.
 
“He certainly has the vision and we believe the strength and the decisiveness,” Jubeir continued. “And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands prepared to work with the United States in order to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Arabs.”
 
Trump is scheduled to visit Israel after Saudi Arabia, where he will meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He is also scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, and will reportedly “express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians”, as his national security adviser said last week.
 
Saudi Arabia has been a strong backer of the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which stipulates that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
 
Israel to date has rejected the plan due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.
 
Jubeir last year said the initiative is the best solution for the conflict, and rejected Netanyahu's demand that the initiative be updated.