German president: Israeli-Palestinian peace ‘truly urgent’

May 9, 2017
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (Mohamad Torokman/Pool Photo via AP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Germany’s president said Tuesday that it is “truly urgent” to start moving toward a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Much time has already been spent on efforts to set up a state of Palestine alongside Israel, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

“In the international community, there were many attempts and much time has passed, and those who know the region know that it has become truly urgent to implement proposals for a two-state solution,” Steinmeier said, standing next to Abbas.

Steinmeier said he believes there is no alternative to a two-state deal and that “it’s high time to work on the requirements for it.”

Abbas expressed willingness to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the auspices of the American president. Referring to his conversation with President Donald Trump last week in Washington, Abbas said he informed Trump “of our readiness to work with him and to meet the Israeli prime minister under his supervision for the sake of making peace.”

It wasn’t clear whether such a meeting was in the works for Trump’s visit to the Holy Land later this month. Netanyahu and Abbas met publicly during a brief encounter at former Israeli president Shimon Peres’ funeral last year. American-brokered peace talks between the two sides failed amid mutual recriminations in April 2014.

Trump has promised to try to broker an elusive deal.

Abbas said in an interview broadcast Monday that Trump gave him the impression that “he wanted to do something quickly, in a year, more or less.”

Steinmeier arrived in Israel on Saturday for a three-day visit and met with Israeli leaders on Sunday.

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