Trump “as committed as he has ever been” to Mideast peace – Nauert

WASHINGTON– Responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s comments that the US is no longer fit to be the Middle East mediator and that the United Nations should take over, the State Department late on Wednesday said President Donald Trump is “as committed as he has ever been” to peace “and that has not changed.

“That type of rhetoric that we heard has prevented peace in the past, and it’s not necessarily surprising to us that those types of things would be said,” department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a briefing, referring to Abbas’s remarks. “We remain hard at work in putting together our plan. We believe that that will benefit both the Israeli and the Palestinian people.” The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final-status negotiations between the parties, Nauert said. “The United States continues to take no position on any final-status issues, and the United States would support a two-state solution… if both sides can agree on this,” she said.

“… We hope to continue to try to work with both the Israelis and the Palestinians to try to force some sort of meaningful peace agreement so that they could sit down and have talks about this,” Nauert said.

“We will continue to back that. We will continue to try to support both sides of it.” During final-status negotiations, the Israelis and Palestinians “are best suited to be able to establish their own boundaries, their own borders and issues of sovereignty,” she said. Explaining Trump’s decision earlier this month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Nauert said, “Simply, the administration determined that Jerusalem, based on where buildings are, based on where the government is, that Jerusalem is the capital (of Israel).” Asked why the Trump administration cannot say that it would regard East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, Nauert said, “I think that will all be up to final-status negotiations, and I’m certainly not going to get ahead of any of those negotiations”.

Source: Kuwait News Agency