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Trump says 'good chance' for Mid East peace, but Netanyahu focused on Iran

نتنياهو يجتمع ترامب في نيويورك 18 سبتمبر 2017
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Netanyahu tells Trump he looks forward to addressing 'terrible nuclear deal' with Iran

US President Donald Trump on Monday told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he sees "a good chance" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In brief remarks to the press before retreating for closed-door talks at New York's Palace Hotel, Trump said that "we are giving [peace] an absolute go."

"With the capability of [Netanyahu] and frankly the other side [the Palestinians], I really think we have a chance," Trump said.

"Historically, people say it can't happen. I say it can happen," he added.

Middle East peace has long been one of the US' most elusive foreign policy goals, and shortly after coming to power Trump assigned his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former business associate Jason Greenblatt with finding a way to secure the "ultimate" deal by getting the two sides back to the negotiating table.

Netanyahu, for his part, said that the two leaders will "discuss the way we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world."

"I think these go together," he added.

Netanyahu praised Trump's support for Israel telling him: "Under your leadership, the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger."

"Under President Trump, America’s position toward Israel at the UN has been unequivocal, it’s been strong, it’s got both clarity and conviction," he continued.

His focus, however, was clearly on Iran.

Netanyahu said that he looked forward to discussing with Trump "how we can address together what you rightly call the terrible nuclear deal with Iran and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria."

Netanyahu, who famously brandished a diagram at the 2012 UN General Assembly showing how close the Islamic Republic was getting to nuclear weapons capability, is expected to use his face time with Trump and his address at the gathering of world leaders on Tuesday to take aim at Iran.

During their closed-door meeting, Netanyahu will reportedly present Trump with a proposal for quitting or significantly amending the deal which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

Trump, asked by reporters whether he has decided to revoke US participation in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, said "you'll see very soon."

Earlier in the day Trump informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog via a statement read out by his Energy Secretary Rick Perry that the US would pull out of the agreement if it is not sufficiently monitored.

Trump has been staunchly critical of the deal, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, but has so far refrained from making good on his threats to scrap the accord.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vigorously opposed the deal from the outset. Several unnamed Israeli officials told Haaretz newspaper on Sunday that the IAEA ignored intelligence from a Western "entity" which indicated suspicious activity at some sites in Iran.

But the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has defended the accord, saying that Iran was subject to the "world's most robust nuclear verification scheme."

Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal is set to be a flashpoint at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this week, with Trump and a slew of senior advisers taking aim at Iran, while European signatories express confidence in the accord.

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