Kushner leads U.S. delegation for peace talks in Middle East

By Allen Cone  |  Aug. 22, 2017 at 2:30 PM
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Aug. 22 (UPI) -- White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is part of a delegation that traveled to the Middle East for peace talks, the Trump administration said Tuesday.

Kushner, also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, traveled to the Middle East Sunday with White House deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, a White House official said Tuesday.

The traveling delegation met with leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia early this week before heading to Israel on Wednesday.

On Thursday, they will meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu will be in Russia this week to meet with Kremlin President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this month, the White House announced the Middle East trip but did not disclose when they would be traveling. An official said the talks would "focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combating extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there." Also, the team will examine economic steps ahead of a potential peace deal.

Kushner and Greenblatt traveled to the Middle East previously this summer to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He also accompanied Trump to Jerusalem during the president's first trip in May.

"I have met with Trump envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as president of the United States," Abbas said in a meeting with the left-wing Meretz Party in Israel, according to a report in Haaretz. "Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained."

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