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Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, left, meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, March 13, 2017. Kobi Gideon/GPO
Mr. Greenblatt is one of the few Trump aides who are increasing meetings in the region

US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, he said on his Twitter account.

Mr. Greenblatt is one of the few collaborators of Mr. Trump who have been increasing meetings in the region for months to try to relaunch the peace enterprise between Israelis and Palestinians.

The meeting comes two weeks after the US president announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This US decision on Jerusalem, one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has sparked almost daily demonstrations and clashes in the West Bank and Gaza.

Mr Greenblatt, accompanied by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, spoke with Mr Netanyahu “as the (Trump) administration continues its peace efforts, which will benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike” , he said.

Mr. Greenblatt said on Twitter that since Tuesday evening he had also met with the European Union's special representative for the peace process, Fernando Gentilini, as well as Israeli general Yoav Mordechai, head of COGAT, the body of the Ministry of Defense responsible for to coordinate Israeli activities in the Palestinian Territories.

Mr. Greenblatt was supposed to precede in the region and then join US Vice President Mike Pence, who was due to arrive on Wednesday. The White House announced on Monday the postponement of Mr. Pence's visit to mid-January citing its necessary presence in Washington for a crucial vote in the Senate.

Mr Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital has been hailed by Israel as "historic".

For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided that Palestinian officials will no longer meet with American political officials.

While Mr. Greenblatt was meeting Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Abbas was received by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, a heavyweight in the region and a close ally of the United States. The king reaffirmed the Palestinians' right to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state to which they aspire.

(with agency)

Source: Israel: Trump's Middle East envoy meets with Netanyahu


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