Trump to work on “perhaps the toughest deal”

Peace negotiations have been stalled since 2014

President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s meeting Wednesday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (all times EDT):

12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the White House is starting a process between the Israelis and Palestinians that “hopefully will lead to peace.”

Trump — who met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday — isn’t giving details about how the process might work.

Trump says he’s long heard that brokering peace between the two sides was “perhaps the toughest deal” to make.

He’s taking that as a challenge, and says: “Let’s see if we can prove them wrong, OK?”

___

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’ll “do whatever is necessary” to reach a Mideast peace agreement and he believes “there’s a very, very good chance” of bringing Israel and the Palestinians together.

Trump has met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office, and the president says he’d “love to be a mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator” between the two sides.

He says “we want to create peace” and he believes “we will get it done.” But he also says a deal “cannot be imposed by the United States or any other nation.”

Abbas spoke through an interpreter and said: “We are coming into a new opportunity a new horizon that would enable us to bring about peace.”

___

12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing optimism for resumed peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

He made the comment at the start of his Oval Office meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump says that “hopefully something terrific can come out between the Palestinians and Israel” and that “we’ve been working on that one a long time.”

Trump says “maybe we can end that journey and start a much better journey.”

It’s the first direct meeting between Trump and Abbas.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.