US officials discuss Middle East peace with Gulf leaders

Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt meet with leaders in the UAE and Oman as part of talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
US officials discuss Middle East peace with Gulf leaders
White House Advisor Jared Kushner. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
By AFP
Tue 26 Feb 2019 02:06 PM

US officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have met with leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Oman as part of a regional tour to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kushner, US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, and Greenblatt, the US Middle East peace envoy, met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on Monday, the US embassy in the UAE said.

"They discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, and the Trump administration's efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians," said a statement.

"Additionally, they discussed ways to improve the entire region through economic investment."

The US officials addressed the same issues in talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos on Monday.

Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, also attended the meetings.

Earlier this month Kushner briefed countries at a conference in Warsaw on Washington's plans for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian to be formally presented after Israeli elections in April.

Kushner said on Monday that the US has tried to figure out a "realistic... and fair solution" to the issue.

"We've focused on the following four principles that we've used in which to create the plan," he said in an  interview aired on UAE-based Sky News Arabia.

"First principle is to have freedom. We want people to be able to have the freedom of opportunity, the freedom of religion, the freedom of worship, regardless of your faith.

"Respect. We want all people to have dignity and to respect each other. Opportunity. We want people to be able to better their lives and not allow their grandfather's conflict to hijack their children's future. And the final one is security."

Top officials of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain -- none of whom recognise Israel -- attended the Warsaw conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who called the talks a "turning point".

But the Palestinians rejected the meeting as an "American conspiracy" with aims to "normalise" the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

The Palestinians have refused to talk to the Trump administration since the US president recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.

They see the eastern part of the disputed city as the capital of their future state and have said Washington's pro-Israel bias meant the US could no longer be the main mediator in stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

The Trump administration has since dealt a series of blows to the Palestinian Authority, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for the Palestinians.

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