The Latest: Trump predicts peace deal could affect region

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that if Israel and the Palestinians can forge peace, it will spill over across the region.

Trump is expressing his hope that America can help both parties work out their longstanding differences. He’s speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

Trump says he is “truly hopeful that America can help Israel and the Palestinians forge peace and bringing new hope the region and its people.”

Trump says he firmly believes that “if Israeli and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East.”

He says “that would be an amazing accomplishment.”

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11:20 a.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is ready to be President Donald Trump’s partner in trying to reach a Mideast deal that would establish a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured half a century ago.

Standing next to Trump, Abbas says the Palestinians “are committed to working with you to reach a historic peace deal between us and Israel.”

Abbas spoke after a meeting with Trump on Tuesday in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian president says the conflict with Israel is not of a religious nature. He says that “our main problem is with the occupation and settlements.”

Abbas called on Israel to accept the demands for better conditions by hundreds of imprisoned Palestinians who have been on a hunger strike for 37 days.

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11:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, condemning the “evil losers” behind the blast.

Trump spoke Tuesday after a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD’ ah-BAHS’).

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of the concert. Police raised the death toll to 22 early Tuesday, and dozens more have been reported injured.

Trump says the attack preyed on “innocent children.” He says this “wicked ideology must be obliterated. And I mean completely obliterated.”

Trump says “civilized nations must join together to protect human life.”

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD’ ah-BAHS’).

Trump was greeted Tuesday morning by Abbas at the president’s headquarters in Bethlehem and their meeting is now underway.

The leaders are expected to discuss resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Trump has said he wants to broker a deal that has proven elusive for the past two decades. The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel a half century ago.

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9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s motorcade is entering biblical Bethlehem in the West Bank, passing through an opening in Israel’s towering separation barrier.

Trump is meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to talk about resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Trump’s brief journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem offered a visual reminder of the complexities of the conflict.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. More than a decade ago, Israel built a separation barrier in the West Bank, saying it is a defense against Palestinian militants who carried out deadly attacks. Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab because it slices off 10 percent of the West Bank.

Bethlehem is ringed by the barrier on three sides.

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9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The two leaders will meet in the West Bank. Trump is expected to make remarks during the meeting on the deadly explosion at a concert in Manchester, England.

Later Tuesday, Trump will visit the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, where he will deliver a speech.

Trump is eager to get Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to restart dormant Middle East peace talks. Still, White House officials have downplayed expectations for a significant breakthrough on this trip.

The president is in the midst of a five-stop foreign trip that will also take him to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis, Brussels and Sicily.

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7:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s first visit to Jerusalem as president is being overshadowed by reminders of tumult back home.

Trump placed a note in the ancient stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. And he sent a signal of solidarity to an ally he’s pushing to work harder toward peace with the Palestinians.

Yet Trump himself brought up a source of criticism. He unexpectedly offered a new defense of his disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats.

He told reporters he never mentioned Israel in the meeting. Various officials have said that was the source of the classified intelligence. But Trump hasn’t been accused of doing that.

Trump’s offhand remark was another stark reminder that his troubles at home, including investigations of his campaign’s ties to Russia, have followed him across the ocean.

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