EU Chiefs Tell Kushner: Peace Plan Has to Take Into Account Palestinians and Israelis' Aspirations

After keeping Europeans largely in the dark about plan, senior U.S. adviser meets European Commission president and EU foreign policy chief in Brussels

Jared Kushner, right, shakes hands with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
Olivier Matthys,AP

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner arrived in Brussels on Tuesday to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in order to discuss the U.S. administration's Middle East peace plan.

A statement released by the European officials following the meeting said that both Juncker and Mogherini stressed to Kushner that any economic solutions the U.S. administration offers the Palestinians have to be accompanied by a "viable political solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis," and that it must also agree with accepted "international parameters."

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The officials also noted that the European Union is seeking a "lasting and sustainable peace in the region," and called for economic development in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been reticent in sharing details of the peace deal with the EU. European officials were not invited to the summit in Bahrain, at which the United States is expected to unveil the economic components of its plan.

A coalition of NGOs expressed concern about the peace plan, and called on the officials meeting with Kushner to reject any plan "that does not embrace principles of international law."

Kushner accompanied the president, his father-in-law, on a trip to the U.K. on Tuesday after last week's visits to Morocco, Jordan and Israel. The Middle East trip was meant to bolster support for the peace plan and the economic conference scheduled to take place in Bahrain next month. The workshop is being boycotted by the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians hope Arab countries will support their position and reject the plan, which they believe will be one-sided and skewed in favor of Israel. The administration, meanwhile, hopes to convince as many Arab nations as possible to at least consider the plan as a basis for negotiations.

Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, accompany the US president and US First Lady during a visit to Westminster Abbey in central London on June 3, 2019.
AFP

In a closed-door conversation with Jewish leaders that leaked to the press, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the economic component of the plan is “very detailed” and will offer recommendations not only for Gaza and the West Bank but “for the entire region."

He added that it may be “unexecutable,” as “no one believes that this will be easy.”