CIA chief meets Palestinians’ Abbas in first top-level talks

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Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination to head the CIA on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX2YOC0

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination to head the CIA on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Two senior Palestinian officials say CIA chief Mike Pompeo secretly held talks in the West Bank with Mahmoud Abbas, the first high-level meeting between the Palestinian leader and a Trump administration official.

The officials said on Wednesday that the meeting took place a day earlier at Abbas’ headquarters in Ramallah.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters about the meeting, which had not been announced.

The meeting, described as “warm and positive,” came ahead of White House talks later Wednesday between President Donald Trump and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian officials have expressed concern they might be sidelined by a Trump administration seen as overtly pro-Israel.

Washington had no immediate comment.

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