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Trump calls on Netanyahu to 'hold back' on new settlement

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-16 09:20

Trump calls on Netanyahu to 'hold back' on new settlement

US President Donald Trump (2ndR) and first lady Melania Trump meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara (L) in the Oval Office of White House in Washington, US, February 15, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

In a White House statement earlier this month, the Trump administration said "the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful" in achieving Middle East peace.

On Wednesday, Trump also said that he is open to either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a departure from US stance in previous administrations.

"I'm looking at two-state, one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. ... I can live with either one," Trump said.

The previous US administrations have pushed for the two-state solution to the Middle East peace process, an idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state that lives side-by-side with Israel.

On another controversial issue of moving US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump said, "as far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem, I'd love to see that happen. We're looking at it very, very strongly."

But he added that the US is looking at the issue "with great care."

Israel claimed all of Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided capital." But the international community has never recognized East Jerusalem, a territory Israel seized in the 1967 Mideast War and later annexed.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The idea of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was discussed in the past but never carried out for fear it will spark fresh tensions in the region.

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