Trump Looking to Create 'Common Set of Principles' to Guide Mideast Peace Process, Says U.S. Official

Administration also seeking to warmer public ties between Israel, Arab countries, official says as Air Force One leaves Israel

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to board Air Force One to travel to Rome from Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel May 23, 2017.
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking a public warming of ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors and to set "a common set of principles" by which to renew the Middle East peace process, a senior American official said during a press briefing aboard Air Force One on its flight from Israel to Italy.

"The first step (in the renewed diplomatic initiative) there is to bring relationships that are warm and strong privately and bring them more public and also set forth a common set of principles that everyone wants to abide by," said the official.

The official did not detail what common principles the administration is considering with regards to the peace process, but stressed that the main principle the American government wishes to insure is discretion and the maintenance of private talks between various representatives.

"And hopefully the more we can build trust the more we can have open dialogues around these things in a way that has not happened before," said the official. "I think that gives us a better chance of having success in this issue.”

According to him, the administration doesn't expect to reach an agreement tomorrow morning between Israel and the Palestinians - an agreement that no one has managed to achieve for decades. He added that the goal of President Trump's trip to the Middle East was mainly to listen and learn the positions of the sides and hear what the other countries in the region have to say.

"And also try to create a lot of momentum and optimism around the prospect for peace,” he added.