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Pompeo Says Netanyahu's Vow to Annex West Bank Will Not Harm Mideast Peace Plan

© AP Photo / Thomas CoexUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. left. and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. left. and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he does not believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vows to annex the West Bank will hurt the US-led Mideast peace process.

"I don't, I think that the vision we'll lay out is going to represent a significant change from the model that's been used", Pompeo said on Friday when asked by CNN if he has any concerns that Netanyahu's statement may potentially hurt US efforts to propose a two-state solution.

Earlier on Friday, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Congressmen Ted Deutch, Brad Schneider, and Nita Lowey said in a joint press release that they are concerned Netanyahu's statement could be detrimental to achieving peace in the Middle East.

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Relations between the Israelis and the Palestinians have been strained for decades. The Palestinians are seeking diplomatic recognition for an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government refuses to recognise an independent Palestinian political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

The Gaza border area, moreover, has been a scene of violent clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military since last March, when the Palestinians launched an anti-Israeli campaign, dubbed the Great March of Return.

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On 6 April, Netanyahu pledged to annex settlements in the West Bank if he secures another term as prime minister in Israel's parliamentary elections on 9 April. Netanyahu has said that he has already started coalition talks with right-wing parties to form a government in Israel.

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