WASHINGTON – Two senior advisers to U.S. President Donald Trump met Friday with the UN secretary-general to discuss the situation in Gaza and the U.S. administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, discussed those issues with António Guterres in New York ahead of the two Americans' five-country Middle East trip next week.
The White House announced Friday night that the trip would include stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This will be Kushner and Greenblatt’s second visit to the region in a month, after they briefly visited Israel last month to attend the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
U.S. officials told Haaretz that the short visit to Israel last month included a packed schedule, which made it difficult to hold in-depth conversations on the peace plan. Such talks will be the focus of the longer visit this week.
A White House official said that, in helping craft the administration’s peace plan, the two officials hoped to “get some ideas from players in the region about some remaining questions the White House peace team has.” There is no deadline yet for publishing the plan, but White House officials told Haaretz last week that the administration was considering making the plan public after it is presented to leaders in the region.
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Ahead of Kushner and Greenblatt’s trip, Trump spoke on the phone this weekend with the emir of Qatar. The Israeli-Palestinian issue wasn’t mentioned in the official White House readout of the conversation, but the document did note that Trump stressed the importance of unifying the Gulf states to address security and diplomatic challenges in the region. Greenblatt has praised Qatar for its attempts to work with Israel to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Administration officials also said over the weekend that while Kushner and Greenblatt were not set to meet with Palestinian Authority officials because of the PA’s boycott of the United States over Trump’s Jerusalem policy, the administration still hoped that the Palestinians would change course and re-engage with the two officials.