WASHINGTON - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to meet with US President Barack Obama next month to discuss Mideast peace talks. The meeting will occur two weeks after Obama is set to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
at the White House.
The White House announced the March 17 meeting with Abbas on Thursday and said the two leaders would review progress in the negotiations. The White House says the two also will discuss how to strengthen institutions that can support a Palestinian state.
The meetings come as American Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to broker a Mideast peace deal that would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
As the April 29 deadline for the peace talks nears, President Obama is said to want to "plunge" back into the negotiations, beginning with an "urgent appeal" to Netanyahu during their meeting next week.
A report in the New York Times Thursday said Obama would press Netanyahu on accepting Kerry's proposed framework guidelines for the continuation of the talks.
The American president is expected to make a similar appeal to Abbas, the paper said.
The White House, a senior official said, has sought to "redeploy" the president, who has never lost interest in Mideast peacemaking, only when he could be most effective. That time, the White House purportedly believes, is now that the Israeli and Palestinian leaders have made little headway in reaching any form of agreement.
Obama and Abbas last met in December in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Ynetnews contributed to this report.