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Abbas eyes Merkel as Plan B if Trump fails on Mideast peace

Should President Donald Trump fail to deliver his ultimate regional deal, the Palestinians could opt for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take the lead on relaunching peace talks with Israel.
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 19: In this handout image supplied by the Palestinian President's Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Abbas is meeting with Merkel as well as other European leaders and Vladimir Putin of Russia in an effort to gain support for the Mideast peace process. Abbas is next scheduled to travel to New York to attend peace talks at the United Nations.  (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PP
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A senior Palestinian minister close to President Mahmoud Abbas told Al-Monitor that the Palestinian leadership is ready to seriously engage with the Trump administration on moving ahead with plans for a regional deal for Palestinian-Israeli peace. The senior PLO official said on condition of anonymity, "We are showing great flexibility, as directed by President Abbas, on the phrasing of the condition to freeze settlement construction — restraining it to the existing built areas of settlements." 

He added, "We are not rigid on the outlines for opening a regional peace conference. Abbas is ready to start serious permanent status negotiations with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his team, beginning with borders and security — where both sides will have to show their respective maps — and with a parallel process of normalizing Arab states’ relations with Israel.”

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