Jared Kushner meets Saudi Crown Prince to discuss peace process

Rumoured US peace plan is delayed as focus turns to funding for humanitarian and development plans in Gaza

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2017, file photo, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner speaks during the Saban Forum 2017 in Washington. The White House says President Donald Trump’s Mideast negotiating team will visit the region next week to promote its as-yet unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and hold talks on deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip. The trip comes as officials say the Trump administration is finalizing the plan for possible release this summer. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, file)
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In his second stop on a week-long trip to the Middle East, senior White House adviser and Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner held talks in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that focussed on the peace process, Gaza relief efforts, and a rumoured plan by the administration to jumpstart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Following his trip to Amman where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan on Tuesday, Mr Kushner and US special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt met with the Saudi Crown Prince in Riyadh today.

The White House said that the US delegations “discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the need to facilitate humanitarian relief to Gaza, and the Trump administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

The administration is reportedly working on a peace plan to revamp the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The plan was expected to be presented after the Ramadan but Haaretz quoting a US official said the announcement is now delayed. It also reported that the plan will include set of ideas and proposals rather than a firm roadmap for negotiations. The White House has been putting emphasis on regional funding for humanitarian and development plans in Gaza.

Ghaith Al Omari a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that while the US delegation “will continue to seek Arab and Israeli input on an American peace plan, they will not be presenting the details of such a plan to the parties on this trip, nor are they likely to unveil it publicly this summer.”

Instead, Mr Al Omari who is a former adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, said the trip “will be focusing on finding ways of supporting Gaza and to seek Arab states’ help in convincing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to play a constructive role for in bringing relief to Gaza” or “to seek other alternatives bypassing the PA if he refuses.”

Mr Kushner and Mr Greenblatt are also scheduled to visit Israel, Egypt and Qatar on the trip. This is Mr Kushner’s fourth trip to Saudi Arabia since Mr Trump took office last year.