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Kushner Leads Delegation to Middle East08/23 06:17

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House adviser Jared Kushner is leading a delegation 
to the Middle East on behalf of President Donald Trump to discuss the 
possibility of resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

   A White House official said Kushner, the president's son-in-law, left Sunday 
along with Jason Greenblatt, envoy for international negotiations, and Dina 
Powell, deputy national security adviser.

   They were in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday and expected to be in Israel on 
Wednesday, the official said. They were planning to meet separately with 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud 
Abbas on Thursday.

   The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the private meetings and 
spoke on condition of anonymity.

   The three were expected to meet leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab 
Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt during their trip.

   Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell have been heavily involved in a 
behind-the-scenes process to help Trump broker peace between the Israelis and 
Palestinians, which the first-year president has called the "ultimate deal."

   The talks this week are aimed at helping forge a path to substantive peace 
negotiations, but no major breakthroughs are expected.

   Trump has not outright endorsed the two-state solution, which has been at 
the heart of U.S. policy for nearly two decades.

   The president has urged Israel to show restraint in settlement construction 
but not demanded a freeze, disappointing the Palestinians. Trump also pushed 
back a decision on his campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv 
to Jerusalem. Israel has welcomed the promise, while the Palestinians have 
strongly opposed it.

   In Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Kushner and other U.S. officials met Crown 
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a report on the state-run Saudi Press 
Agency. Their talks included "realizing a genuine and lasting peace between the 
Palestinians and the Israelis and to bring about security, stability and Middle 
Eastern prosperity," as well as cutting off support for extremists, the report 
said.

   The trip to Saudi Arabia comes as no surprise as the kingdom hosted the 
first overseas trip of Trump's presidency. Saudi Arabia is now engulfed in a 
diplomatic dispute with Qatar, another U.S. ally nation in the Gulf that hosts 
a major American military base. Qatari media reported Kushner and the American 
officials also met that small country's ruling emir on Tuesday as well. 


(KA)

 
 
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