President Trump said he’s looking at “maybe, ultimately, peace in the whole of the Middle East” before a bilateral meeting today with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Trump called it a “great honor” to meet with Abbas and his team, “who have been working very hard with everybody involved toward peace.”
“I think we have a pretty good shot — maybe the best shot ever — and that’s what we’re looking to do,” he said. “And I just want to thank you for all of the time, all of the meetings, all of the work. It’s a complex subject; always been considered the toughest deal of all. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians — the toughest of all.”
“But I think we have a very, very good chance, and I certainly will devote everything within my heart and within my soul to get that deal made. Our team is expert; your team is expert. Israel is working very hard toward the same goal, and I must tell you, Saudi Arabia and many of the different nations are working also hard.”
Trump added, “We’ll see if we can put it together. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. But I think we have a good chance, and it’s a great honor to have you with us.”
Abbas said he was “very delighted” to meet again with Trump. “And if this is any proof to anything, it means — it attests to the seriousness of Your Excellency, Mr. President, to achieve the deal of the century in the Middle East during this year or in the coming months, God willing,” he added.
“And we are very certain that you, Mr. President, are determined to reach real peace in the Middle East. And this gives us the assurance and the confidence that we are on the verge of real peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he said. “And I would not be giving away any secrets if I say we have met with your brave and active delegation more than 20 times since your ascension to power in the White House. And if this is any indication to anything, it indicates how serious you are about peace in the Middle East.”
Abbas pledged that Washington “will find utmost seriousness on our part to achieve peace, because peace serves our interests and the interests of the Israeli people.”
The Palestinian leader said Rosh Hashanah and the Islamic New Year, which begins Thursday evening, falling “together within a 24-hour period” indicates “it means that we can coexist peacefully together.”
“Once again, Mr. President, we count on you,” Abbas added.
Trump thanked Abbas for the “very great sentiment, frankly” and told the Palestinian leader “you have millions of people rooting for you, that I can say.”
“And I have to say, from the time I’m a little boy, I’ve been hearing about peace in the Middle East. And for so many years I’ve been hearing about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And we’re at a very important juncture — there’s a small period of time — and we’re going to see what we can do. There can be no promises, obviously. So many people have talked about it, and it’s never happened,” Trump added. “But we’re fighting very hard. We are trying very hard. We’re all getting along together well. We’ll see if we can do it. And if we do do it, it would be a great, great legacy for everybody.”
Trump told reporters at the conclusion of their joint remarks that he has arrived at a decision on what to do about U.S. participation in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, but wouldn’t reveal that decision.