Abbas Set to Meet Obama in Washington on March 17

Meeting to focus on the deadlocked peace talks with Israel; Netanyahu will meet Obama at the White House Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on March 17 to talk about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the White House said on Thursday.

"They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state," the White House said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House on Monday. The New York Time reported Thursday that Obama is expected to pressure Netanyahu during his visit to accept the framework agreement being drafted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Given the lack of progress in the peace talks with Israel, there had been some expectation in Ramallah that such an invitation would be forthcoming.

Haaretz has learned that despite the pessimism felt by the Palestinians after the most recent round of talks between Abbas and Kerry in Paris, another round was scheduled to take place between the Palestinians and Kerry’s team.

Abbas said following last week's discussions that the American diplomacy had failed so far to obtain a framework agreement that could serve as the basis for negotiations and a peace accord.

A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz on Monday that the Palestinian leadership was very discouraged and sensed a regression with respect to all of Washington’s key positions.

“We don’t know what will happen in the coming weeks, but it’s impossible to talk about optimism, not even cautious optimism. Yes, Kerry has not yet presented any document and everything is still just ideas, but these ideas do not come close to the Palestinian position and cannot form the basis for a future agreement,” said the official.

Via Bloomberg