Palestinians Taking Trump Efforts Seriously, Says Minister

W460

The Palestinians are taking seriously Donald Trump's efforts to help resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a minister said Thursday, ahead of the U.S. president's visit to the West Bank next week.

Foreign minister Riyad al-Malki was speaking in Muscat where he was accompanying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a regional tour prior to the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

"Abu Mazen stressed Trump's seriousness in settling the Palestinian issue" after they met in Washington this month, said the minister, referring to Abbas by his Arabic nickname.

"The U.S. president assured him he will be able to find a settlement within one year," he added.

Trump hosted Abbas at the White House on May 3, pledging to help end the decades-old conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"It is something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years," the U.S. president said at the time.

Trump's visit to Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday is expected to last a few hours.

It will be part of his first trip abroad since his inauguration in January.

The tour, which begins on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, will take him to Israel and the West Bank and then to the Vatican.

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