President will meet Netanyahu; H.R. McMaster says ‘prospects for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians’ to be the subject in many meetings
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will discuss efforts to forge a Middle East peace agreement next week at the UN General Assembly, a senior administration official said on Friday.
“Of course, the president will talk about the prospects for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, among a broad range of regional issues, with all of the leaders he’s meeting during the week,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters during a press briefing.
McMaster’s remarks come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way to New York for the world body’s annual confab. He will address the plenary session on Tuesday as will Trump.
The two will meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly next Monday. It will be their first in-person get together since Trump visited the region in May.
Officials did not say where the meeting would take place, but last month the Israel Hayom daily reported it would be held at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey.
Officials have also not yet disclosed what subjects will be discussed, but along with peace efforts, their summit will come as Trump continues to make headlines for his plans to toughen up on Iran and potential plans to decertify the regime as violating the 2015 nuclear deal, despite International Atomic Energy Agency investigators finding it is abiding by its terms.
On Thursday, Trump waived wide-ranging economic sanctions against Iran’s oil, trade and financial sectors. Yet, the US Treasury Department also imposed fresh sanctions on 11 Iranian entities for their alleged support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Tehran’s ballistic missile program and other programs to conduct cyberattacks and support terrorism.
The latest Trump-Netanyahu meeting comes at a sensitive time for the American peace push. Last month, the former real estate mogul dispatched a US delegation to the Middle East to try to renew negotiations between the sides.
No tangible developments occurred, but Palestinians continue to criticize the US team for its refusal to back a two-state solution, a goal that has been central to American foreign policy for decades.
In August, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert responded to these criticisms by saying the Trump administration did not want to “bias” itself by supporting any particular outcome to the conflict.