Pompeo, Kushner to Mideast as US presses Arab-Israeli peace - InfoNews

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Pompeo, Kushner to Mideast as US presses Arab-Israeli peace

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump, center, accompanied by from left, U.S. special envoy for Iran Brian Hook, Avraham Berkowitz, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, sits in front of documents in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. The agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to establish full diplomatic ties comes as little surprise to those closely following the nuances of Middle East politics, and Trump administration’s almost single-minded push to broker a deal of this kind without a resolution first to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
August 22, 2020 - 11:59 AM

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration will send two top officials to the Middle East this week in a bid to capitalize on momentum from the historic agreement between Israeli and the United Arab Emirates to establish diplomatic relations.

Three diplomats say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner plan to make separate, multiple-nation visits to the region in the coming days to push Arab-Israeli rapprochement in the aftermath of the Israel-UAE deal.

Pompeo is expected to depart on Sunday for Israel, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Sudan, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the itinerary has not yet been finalized or publicly announced. Kushner plans to leave later in the week for Israel, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, the diplomats said.

Neither trip is expected to result in announcements of immediate breakthrough, the diplomats said, although both are aimed at finalizing at least one, and potentially more, normalization deals with Israel in the near future.

Pompeo also plans to meet in Qatar with members of the Talban to discuss intra-Afghan peace talks that are key to the withdrawal of remaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the diplomats said.

The White House and State Department had no comment on the planned trips, which will come as the administration steps up efforts to push for Arab-Israeli normalization even without a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

They also come as the administration has taken the controversial step of triggering the restoration of all international sanctions on Iran, something that only Israel and the Gulf Arab nations have publicly supported.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Aug. 13 they would establish full diplomatic relations, in a U.S.-brokered deal that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex occupied West Bank land sought by the Palestinians.

The historic agreement delivered a key foreign policy victory to Trump as he seeks reelection and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.

U.S. and Israeli officials have suggested that more Arab nations may soon follow the UAE's lead, with Bahrain and Oman believed to be closest to sealing such deals.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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