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U.S., Gulf officials hold talks on Mideast peace; Qatar-Saudi rift not discussed
August 23, 2017 / 7:42 AM / 3 months ago

U.S., Gulf officials hold talks on Mideast peace; Qatar-Saudi rift not discussed

DOHA (Reuters) - Senior U.S. officials including presidential adviser Jared Kushner have met with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to discuss the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, the state news agencies of the two Gulf countries said late on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO - White House senior advisor Jared Kushner arrives to join U.S. President Donald Trump and the rest of the U.S. delegation to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, 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,” SPA said. Neither of the news agencies mentioned the months-old row between Riyadh and Doha, which has defied Kuwaiti and U.S. mediation efforts.

Bin Salman and the official talked about ways to achieve “a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and stability in the wider Middle East and beyond, the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

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

Kushner was charged with helping to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians after Trump took office.

The president went to Saudi Arabia and Israel during his first post-inauguration trip abroad and has expressed a personal commitment to reaching a deal that has eluded his Republican and Democratic predecessors.

Reporting by Noah Browning in Doha and Sylvia Westall in Dubai; Editing by Alison Williams

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