White House adviser Jared Kushner is leading a delegation to the Middle East on behalf of US President Donald Trump to discuss the possibility of resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, is expected to hold separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday.
The talks are aimed at helping forge a path to substantive peace negotiations, but no major breakthrough is expected.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shourky cancelled a Wednesday meeting with the US delegation. The move came after the US announced on Tuesday that it would punish Egypt over human rights abuses by witholding aid.
Kushner was still expected to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The US delegation also includes Jason Greenblatt, envoy for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser.
The trio has been involved in a behind-the-scenes process to help Trump broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, which the president has called described as the “ultimate deal”.
They spent Tuesday in the Gulf before heading to Egypt on Wednesday.
Kushner met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, before flying to Doha for a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The two Gulf neighbours are embroiled in a months-long diplomatic dispute.
A Saudi-led bloc severed ties with Qatar in June after accusing it of supporting terrorism, an allegation Doha strongly denies.
Kushner’s talks with the Saudi and Qatari leaders focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the state news agencies of the two Gulf countries said. No mention was made of the row between Riyadh and Doha.
The US delegation also met with leaders of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. (aljazeera)