Trump adviser Kushner in Cairo for talks on Mideast peace

2017-08-23 16:56
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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Cairo - White House adviser Jared Kushner arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, the latest stop on his Mideast trip exploring the possibilities of reviving the long-dormant Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

The trip come in the wake of a July crisis between the Israelis and Palestinians at the site of a major Jerusalem holy shrine after Israel installed metal detectors at its entrance after an attack there killed two Israeli officers.

The move incensed the Muslim world, triggering some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years. Israel later removed the detectors.

Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, is heading a US delegation that includes Jason Greenblatt, envoy for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser. They are scheduled to meet Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry later on Wednesday.

Before Egypt, Kushner and the US officials traveled on Tuesday to Jordan, where they met with King Abdullah II, according to the state-run Petra News Agency. The king acknowledged the importance of US involvement and Trump's commitment to reach a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, the agency said.

And earlier on Tuesday, the delegation was in the Persian Gulf. On Thursday, the American officials are expected to hold separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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 US policy for nearly two decades.

The American president has urged Israel to show restraint in settlement construction, but has not demanded a freeze, disappointing Palestinians.

Trump also pushed back a decision on his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel has welcomed the promise, while the Palestinians have strongly opposed it.

Ahead of the delegation's visit to Egypt, the Trump administration on Tuesday cut nearly $100m in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $200m more in military financing, pending human rights improvements and action to ease harsh restrictions on civic and other non-governmental groups.

The moves underscore the US administration's delicate diplomacy with Egypt, which has been widely criticized for its rights record and yet is a staunch counterterrorism partner.

It wasn't immediately clear if Kushner and the American delegation would discuss the aid cuts while in Egypt.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  egypt  |  us  |  palestine  |  north africa

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