Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to meet with US President Barack Obama next month to discuss Mideast peace talks. The meeting will occur two weeks after Obama is set to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
The White House announced the March 17 meeting with Abbas on Thursday and said the two leaders would review progress in the negotiations. The White House says the two also will discuss how to strengthen institutions that can support a Palestinian state.
Obama reportedly plans to take a greater personal role in the US brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as the April deadline for their completion approaches, and plans to pressure both Abbas and Netanyahu to accept the non-binding “framework” agreement drawn up by US Secretary of State John Kerry, according to a Thursday New York Times report.
Kerry has made 11 trips to the region in an attempt to broker a Mideast peace deal that would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Although the negotiations have taken place behind closed doors, reportedly the two sides are still far apart on several “core issues” such as the fate of Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees and the future of the Israeli West Bank settlements.
Obama and Abbas last met in December in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.