Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Palestinian presence at Mideast meeting not a negotiation

Palestinian presence at Mideast meeting not a negotiation

Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, two top advisers to the United States president tasked with negotiating a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, will be going on a tour of Arab countries to exhibit the Trump's administration's plan, a White House official said on Thursday.

The visit will focus on the economic aspects of the plan, and leave out the politics, the officials said. Haaretz reported that Kushner and Greenblatt will meet with the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - three countries that could play a key role in supporting efforts to strengthen the Palestinian economy.

Kushner and Greenblatt, joined by State Department envoy Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz, will not brief the diplomats on the "political component" of the peace plan, which covers all core issues of the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the officials said.

The peace plan will only be revealed after Israel's April 9 elections, so as not to add difficulties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign-seeing as he is already expected to face an indictment before Israeli voters hit the polls.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) speaks with Jason Greenblatt, the USA president's assistant and special representative for global negotiations, during the Arab Summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017. Kushner is not visiting Israel on this trip, the officials said.

During the discussion with Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, he is expected to give an update on the peace effort and what the administration hopes to accomplish in coming weeks and months.

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The State Department has said more than 40 countries will attended the conference in Warsaw from February 12 to 14.

Seeking regional support for the economic plan is a step on the way to the eventual unveiling of Trump's sweeping proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians have refused to meet with the U.S. to discuss peace overtures since December 2017, when Trump announced the move and declared he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC, said the Trump administration is likely to run into a few hurdles when having to deal with Palestinians after it unilaterally chose to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.

The US has ended millions in aid to the UN's refugee agency for the Palestinians, and has cut funding for the PA over Abbas's refusal to enter negotiations and Ramallah's payments to terror convicts and their families.

Release of the Trump peace plan has since been put on hold.

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