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Trump's volte-face: Palestinians seeking UK reassurance on two-state solution

Trump's rhetoric has been viewed as a cause for concern by Palestinians [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2017

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Trump's remarks about Washington's potential dropping of support for a two-state solution have caused Palestinian concern, but international states and the UN have expressed continued support for such a deal
Palestinian diplomats plan to speak with the UK government and urge it to support a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel following US President Donald Trump's controversial announcement on Wednesday that his administration did not view such a proposal as a necessity to a peace-deal.

Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States would not insist on a two-state solution to the conflict, in a break from Washington's decades-old policy and from the international consensus on the peace process.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like," Trump said. "I can live with either one."

Trump's comments were welcomed by Israel's right-wing government but have caused alarm among Palestinians.

Speaking to Arab News Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to the UK said that the planned to discuss the US change in policy with the UK government next week.

"We were dismayed, we were surprised (at) this draconian shift in policy… from a position that has been held for more than two decades by the US in promoting a two-state solution," said Hassassian, who is scheduled to meet with Tobias Ellwood, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Since Trump’s remarks the UK’s Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft has said that his government continues to believe that the best solution for peace in the Middle East is the two-state solution."

Such remarks echo others made by states including France and Sweden, in addition to the UN, since Trump's announcement on Wednesday.

While expressing "dismay" at the seeming shift in US policy Hassassian expressed hope that the Palestinians would be able to work with Trump.

"We cannot really just make generalizations about him (after) one meeting with Netanyahu, and try to draw the inferences that he’s an enemy of the Palestinians. I think he will become more and more pragmatic when he understands the intricate issues," said Hassassian, who added that Trump should meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
 

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