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Sources: Abbas met with CIA director prior to Trump's meeting with Netanyahu

Feb. 17, 2017 10:19 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2017 5:51 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo on Wednesday at Abbas’ presidential residence in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, according to Palestinian Authority (PA) sources.

Sources told Ma’an that the two discussed political and security “headlines” prior to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening.

Sources added that head of the Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj also attended the meeting, which was described as “positive, productive, clear and serious,” as officials discussed issues including the peace process, two-state solution, the security situation, and Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu saw a radical departure from the US’ long-held position in favor of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Trump saying that he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution.

On the issue of illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory, Trump appeared to backtrack on his previously emphatic support, as the two leaders seemed at odds on the matter.

“As far as settlements, I’d like to see you to hold back on settlements for a little bit,” he told Netanyahu.

The prime minister, however, reiterated his government’s belief that “the issue of settlements is not the core of the conflict, nor does it really drive the conflict” -- despite the international community’s condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as being one of the main hurdles to the establishment of a two-state solution.

The Israeli government has welcomed Trump’s presidency
, as right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements since Trump came forward as a vocal supporter of Israel and expressed opposition to a recent UN Security Council resolution that harshly condemned illegal settlements.

However Trump has recently made statements critical of settlements following the passage in Israel’s parliament of the “Regularization law,” which could grant official Israeli governmental recognition to more than a dozen illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank established on private Palestinian lands.

Both opponents and supporters of the bill have said the legislation would pave the way to annexing the majority of the West Bank.

Trump told an Israeli newspaper last week that, "I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”

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