Middle East

Trump to have first phone call with Abbas

Donald Trump will make contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the first time since taking office.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will speak by telephone with US President Donald Trump in the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office in January.

Trump's planned Friday phone call to Abbas is revealed in a White House notice.

Trump is unpopular among Palestinians because he appeared to break from his predecessor and adopt friendlier positions toward the Israeli government, including a vague stance on Palestinian statehood and a more lenient approach to settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians.

However, Trump's administration last week warned Israel against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, saying it would trigger an "immediate crisis" between the two allies.

The move suggested Trump may be returning to more traditional US policy and will not give Israel free rein to expand its control over the West Bank and sideline the Palestinians, as Israeli nationalists had hoped.

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