Trump says new, expanded Israeli settlements may not help peace process
U.S. president has yet to take an official position on settlement construction
The White House says new Israeli settlements or the expansion of existing ones beyond their current borders may not help achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
"While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal," the White House said in a statement.
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Spokesman Sean Spicer says U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has yet to take an official position on settlement construction.
Spicer says Trump looks forward to continuing to discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits the White House on Feb. 15.
I look forward to discussing with him the areas of cooperation between us that are so vital to the security & well-being of our 2 countries.—@netanyahu
In Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu vowed to establish the first new West Bank settlement in more than two decades "as soon as possible."
Trump has signalled a softer line toward settlements, which most of the international community views as illegal.
With files from Reuters