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Trump charts new Mideast course; maybe no separate Palestine

President Donald Trump on Wednesday withheld clear support for an independent Palestine and declared he could endorse a one-nation solution to the long and deep dispute between Palestinians and Israel. The United States has formally backed the two-state solution as official policy since 2002, when President George W. Bush said in the White House Rose Garden that his vision was "two states, living side by side in peace and security."

The U.S. position had been clear. The last three presidents had advocated the emergence of an independent, sovereign Palestinian country in most of the territory that Israel seized in the 1967 Mideast War. Land swaps agreed to by both sides would allow some Jewish settlements built in east Jerusalem or the West Bank to become part of Israel. The existence of a recognized nation of Palestine would mean the end of Israel's occupation.

The Trump administration has been similarly ambiguous about other foreign policy matters, including the Iran nuclear deal. As a candidate, Trump vowed to renegotiate the accord. As president, he has continued deploring it. But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Trump's team told her the U.S. was committed to implementing the seven-nation deal. France's Ayrault, however, said he got the impression from Tillerson that the U.S. wanted to review it from scratch.

Source: AP

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