US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday urged Palestinians who rejected President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan to come up with a “counter-offer” that could win Israeli support, as he headed to Britain on a five-nation tour.
Pompeo was on his way to London to help forge to a post-Brexit alliance with Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- a leader Trump once called the UK version of himself.
His tour also includes talks in Kiev on Friday that are likely to touch on many of the controversies surrounding the Ukraine-linked impeachment trial of the mercurial White House chief.
Pompeo found himself on the immediate defensive over a delayed Middle East initiative that was pronounced dead on arrival by the Palestinians but embraced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Palestinian leaders were “free to come up with a counter offer if that’s what they think is appropriate”, Pompeo told reporters travelling with him.
“I know the Israelis would be prepared to sit down and negotiate on the basis of the vision that the president laid out.”
Trump’s proposals reportedly included no Palestinian input and grants Israel much of what it has sought in decades of international diplomacy.
Pompeo said the misgivings were coming from “the same critics who have failed for 70 years”.
Johnson was one of the first to voice support for Trump’s proposals on Tuesday and said in his defence that “no peace plan is perfect but this (one) has the merit of a two-state solution”.
The Conservative prime minister will be eager to present a united front as he looks for a US trade deal that can fill the void of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on Friday.