US delegation in Middle East to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 23.08.2017 10:55
Updated 23.08.2017 15:20
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White House adviser Jared Kushner has touched down in Cairo on Wednesday, the latest stop on his Middle East trip to discuss the possibility of resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, was to meet with Egyptian officials, including Foreign Minister Sameh Shourky.

However, ahead of Kushner's visit, the Trump administration on Tuesday cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $200 million more in military financing, pending human rights improvements. Following the decision, Egyptian foreign ministry canceled the meeting. Instead, Kushner will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Kushner, U.S. negotiator Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, then flew to Doha to meet the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Apart from efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, the two sides also discussed encouraging "security, stability and Middle-Eastern-prosperity," Saudi state news agency said.

No mention of the months-old row between Riyadh and Doha, which has defied Kuwaiti and U.S. mediation efforts, was made.

In Doha, which hosts the political leadership of Palestinian group Hamas, Sheikh Tamim and the envoys discussed "the improvement of the humanitarian situation and living conditions in Gaza Strip," Qatar state news agency reported.

The White House announced the trip earlier this month, saying it was part of a regional tour including meetings with leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The U.S. delegation planned to meet regional leaders to discuss a "path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks", a White House official said at the time.

Separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were expected for Thursday.

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