Abbas says Middle East peace closer with Trump engaged

President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Donald Trump for hosting him at the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly gathering.

FILE: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Picture: Facebook.

NEW YORK - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed optimism on Wednesday about reaching a peace deal with Israel this year and said US President Donald Trump’s commitment to the issue would help create the “deal of the century” in the region.

Abbas thanked Trump for hosting him at the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders in New York.

“If this is any proof to anything ... 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,” Abbas said through an interpreter.

Trump said his team of advisers was working very hard on the issue, as were Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nations.
“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,” Trump said.

“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,” he said.

Abbas noted that the Palestinians had met with Trump’s team more than 20 times since the US president entered office in January, and he said the fact that Jews and Muslims were celebrating a new year was a positive sign.

“This is a very sweet coincidence that we can celebrate the new year together within a 24-hour period, and if this is an indication to anything, it means that we can coexist peacefully together,” he said.