(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday against abandoning the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there was "no alternative."
"There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states and we should do all that can be done to maintain this," Guterres said during a visit to Cairo.
The UN chief's comments came after Trump administration officials suggested that peace between the parties might be possible in another framework.
On the eve of Trump's first official meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior White House official said it was up to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves to decide on the shape of any future peace.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have warned the United States against abandoning a two-state solution.
Netanyahu pledges to promote responsible policies when he meets with Trump (credit: REUTERS)
The president and First Lady Melania Trump are due to greet Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at the White House in the morning, and the two leaders will hold a brief press conference before holding two hours of meetings.
Speaking to White House reporters on Tuesday, Trump officials declined to specify the administration's objectives for direct talks beyond the broad goal of peace. "A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said. "Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that's what the parties want or something else, if that's what the parties want, we're going to help them."
"We're not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be," the official added.
In recent decades, subsequent administrations have explicitly outlined their hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security.
Past negotiations have operated on the assumption that such an outcome would roughly fall along the lines that resulted from the Six Day War in 1967, with mutually agreed land swaps reflecting a change in demographics.
Earlier this month, Guterres condemned the Israeli parliament's move to legalize thousands of settler homes in the West Bank, saying it goes against international law and will have legal consequences for Israel.
Guterres also defended this week the choice of former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad
as the UN envoy to Libya, after the United States raised objections and said the United Nations was biased against Israel. Michael Wilner contributed to this report.