CIA chief met Palestinian leader ahead of Trump-Netanyahu visit

by WorldTribune Staff, February 16, 2017

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas on Feb. 14 to discuss “political and security issues in addition to the future of the peace process,” a report said.

A Palestinian security source told The Jerusalem Post that the two sides met at the Mukata, Abbas’s headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo

The meeting, the first between Abbas and a member of the Trump administration since President Donald Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, came one day prior to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s White House meeting with Trump in which the president indicated the two-state solution is not necessarily the only path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The source added that PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj and a number of other senior PA officials attended the meeting between Abbas and Pompeo.

The CIA director was in Saudi Arabia over the weekend for his first overseas tour since being confirmed in late January.

A White House official said that “a two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve,” the official said. “Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that’s what the parties want or something else, if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them.”

Saeb Erekat, the PLO Executive Committee secretary-general and a senior Abbas aide, told a group of reporters in Jericho on Feb. 15 that the Palestinian leadership hopes Trump will “reaffirm and repeat the position of successive past American administrations that the solution is represented in the two-state option, a Palestinian state living in peace and security next to Israel.”

Erekat added that the Palestinian leadership would like to hear directly from the U.S. administration rather than through media reports.

“We want to hear from you and not about you. And we want you to hear us and not to hear about us,” Erekat said.

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