Kushner, Greenblatt Discuss Gaza Aid With Crown Prince MBS in Saudi Arabia

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Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Handout ./REUTERS

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration's Middle East peace team met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday for discussions focusing on improving conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The meeting was part of Senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner and Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt's five-country tour of the region, meant to promote the administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

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According to a White House statement, Trump's envoys and the Crown Prince discussed "increasing cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the need to facilitate humanitarian relief to Gaza, and the Trump Administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians." Saudi Arabia has so far expressed support for the administration's efforts in a securing a peace deal.

Earlier this week, Haaretz reported that the administration wants Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that will improve the humanitarian and economic conditions in Gaza. Some of the proposed projects will be set up in Northern Sinai, requiring the cooperation of Egypt, which is one of the next stops on Kushner and Greenblatt's tour of the region.

The Palestinian Authority responded to the report, dismissing the efforts as an attempt to cause a rift between the West Bank and the Strip.

On Tuesday, the two met with Jordanian King Abdullah in Amman. The meeting notably took place one day after Abdullah hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu in his royal palace. According to Jordanian news reports, Abdullah told Kushner and Greenblatt that a two-state solution to the conflict was the only way to proceed. The Trump administration has so far not expressed support for such a scenario.

Later this week, Greenblatt and Kushner will visit Qatar - another Gulf monarchy that they hope will invest money in the Gaza Strip; Egypt, which plays a crucial role with regards to Gaza; and Israel, where they are expected to arrive before the weekend. No meetings are scheduled with PA officials. This is as a result of the PA President Mahmoud Abbas cutting ties with the White House following President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December.

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