America's top diplomat is reportedly concerned by direct communications between the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, a report by Bloomberg claimed Saturday.
People close to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Bloomberg that there was growing concern and alarm that Kushner's "secret talks" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process could backfire and cause regional upheaval.
“The problem is, the senior presidential adviser does not consult with the State Department - and it’s unclear the level of consultation that goes on with the NSC,” a source close to Tillerson told Bloomberg, referencing the National Security Council. “And that’s a problem for both the NSC and the State Department and it’s not something we can easily solve," Bloomberg reported.
Kushner, who has been working on this issue ever since January, will speak on Sunday at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., an annual conference on U.S. policy in the Middle East, organized by the Brookings Institution. Kushner will talk about the administration's peace efforts together with Haim Saban, the Israeli-born business mogul who funds the annual event. It will be the first time he speaks publically about the peace process.
Trump's White House is planning to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, The New York Times reported Thursday.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been promoting the plan as a result of major policy differences between President Trump and Secretary Tillerson on issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis between Qatar and its neighbors, and the nuclear threat from North Korea. Tillerson is expected to leave his post by early 2018, according to the New York Times.
Reuters independently confirmed the report, as a senior administration official claimed the plan has been in the works for a number of weeks. Both Trump and Tillerson denied the report.
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