Trump on Peace Plan, End of Iran Deal: ‘A Lot of Progress Made in Middle East’

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

It’s been years since the Israelis and the Palestinians engaged in direct peace talks and Iran is outraged after the United States exited the nuclear deal, but US President Donald Trump believes things aren’t just doing ok in the Middle East. “We’re doing very well in the Middle East. We’re doing very well in the Middle East, yes,” said Trump on Monday in response to questions asking about chances of peace in the region.

A follow-up question asked President Trump when he wants to publish his much-anticipated Middle East peace plan, and the American leader said that “a lot of progress has been made in the Middle East. A lot. And it really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal. That deal was a disaster, and things are a lot different since we ended that. A lot different.”

The comments, published to the White House website, were made prior to meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II. The regional leadership has been important to the peace plans being made by the Trump Administration, including a recent tour by American envoys of countries in the Middle East including Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

In a recent interview by Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner to the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds and republished by The New York Times, the US official did not comment on details of a future peace plan. However, Jordan’s official news agency made it clear what their view on the matter is.

King Abdullah, according to a report in the Petra news agency, insisted on a peace process in which the Palestinians achieve an independent state with East Jerusalem as their capital.

Trump famously has already acknowledged Israel’s right to Jerusalem as their capital, while repeatedly stating that the decision to move the US embassy to Israel to Jerusalem does not predetermine the final status of the holy city.

Meanwhile, another country is joining the US to upgrade their diplomatic mission in Jerusalem—Bulgaria is opening an honorary consulate in Israel’s capital. In comments released by his office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said following a visit to Israel that they would open the consulate as “a first step.”

“He made the effort to explain to me, in our conversation, that this consul will not deal only with Bulgarian affairs in Jerusalem, but with Bulgarian affairs in the entire State of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“I told him that this was a welcome step and that I hoped it will quickly lead to the opening of the official and complete Bulgarian Embassy in Jerusalem.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 25, 2018)

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