U.S. President Donald Trump (R) welcomes visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, May 3, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was committed to helping solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, May 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was committed to helping solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, Trump did not mention his support for a two-state solution, a longstanding U.S. stance on the issue.
"I'm committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement," said Trump with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here at a joint press conference.
"But any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States or by any other nation. The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both people to live, worship, and thrive and prosper in peace," said Trump.
Standing beside Trump, Abbas later told reporters that the strategic choice to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "to bring about peace based on the vision of the two state."
"If we create peace that is just and comprehensive, that will also lead the Arab and Islamic countries to have normal relations with Israel based as stipulated in the previous Arab summits," said Abbas.
In a major departure from the longtime U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump said in February that he was open to either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I'm looking at two-state, one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. ... I can live with either one," Trump said then at a joint press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, Trump also asked Netanyahu to "hold back" on building new settlement "for a little bit."
The former U.S. administration under Barack Obama often criticized Israel's continuous expansion of the settlements, which Washington considered as a major obstacle to peace.
The first joint appearance of Trump and Abbas also came one day after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump was seriously considering moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
"The President of the United States, as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," said Pence here on Tuesday at an Israel Independence Day event.
Despite the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by the U.S. Congress, which required the relocation of U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former and current U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation on national security interests.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and not a single foreign country has based their embassies in Jerusalem.
So far, no comment from the Palestinian side is available on the remarks.