US national security adviser meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Jake Sullivan and Palestinian leader 'discussed the importance of actions to build trust, enhance stability and security and foster a more hopeful vision for the future'

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Wednesday in a bid to “deepen ties with the Palestinian people".

During the meeting, Mr Abbas and Mr Sullivan discussed the steps the US has taken this year to benefit Palestinians, including resuming aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Aid to the organisation had been cut under the administration of former president Donald Trump but President Joe Biden resumed the flow of assistance in April.

Mr Sullivan also “reaffirmed President Biden’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution and discussed the importance of actions to build trust, enhance stability and security, and foster a more hopeful vision for the future”, the White House reported in a readout of the meeting.

The White House readout added that the meeting demonstrated the Biden administration's continued engagement with partners over the course of the past year and shows its commitment to advancing “US enduring interests in the Middle East".

In an address to the UN General Assembly in September, Mr Abbas described a “constructive dialogue” with the Biden administration that was reviving US-Palestinian ties and raising prospects for peace talks with Israel.

The US national security adviser's meeting with Mr Abbas was preceded by a visit last week from US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who described talks with the Palestinian president as a “productive discussion on the renewed US relationship with Palestinians, respect for human rights and democracy and support for a two-state solution”.

And last May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Mr Abbas in Ramallah after an outbreak of violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups.

Earlier in the week, Mr Sullivan met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, their focus being on the flailing talks in Vienna aimed at bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mr Bennett's government has called for a halt to international efforts to revive the accord, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The Israeli leader has accused Iran of “nuclear blackmail” and charged that revenue it gained from sanctions relief would be used to acquire weapons to harm Israelis.

Updated: December 22nd 2021, 11:44 PM