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Kushner ‘disappointed’ Abraham Accords haven’t grown, says 6 countries were on deck

Ex Trump aide and son-in-law hopes Biden administration puts more focus on expanding normalization deals, says solving Israeli-Arab conflict will bring prosperity

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a Washington event marking the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on September 12, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a Washington event marking the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on September 12, 2022. (Screen capture/YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former US president Donald Trump and his senior White House aide, lamented on Monday that additional countries have yet to join the Abraham Accords under the Biden administration

“I think the biggest disappointment so far is that more countries haven’t been brought into it,” Kushner said at a Washington event marking the two-year anniversary of the agreements hosted by his Abraham Accords Peace Institute and the pro-Trump American First Policy Institute.

Kushner was instrumental in negotiating the Abraham Accords — the normalization agreements Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan in 2020.

Speaking during an on-stage interview, the former Trump aide revealed that before he left office, “I think that we had about six active discussions going on” with other prospective Abraham Accords countries. He didn’t name them.

US officials told The Times of Israel in January 2021 that the Trump administration had been closing in on agreements with Mauritania and Indonesia to be the next Muslim-majority countries to normalize relations with Israel, but ran out of time before the Republican president’s term ended.

“I think that there’s a lot more to build on. But I do hope that the current administration will focus on that and work to do that because once the whole Arab-Israeli conflict is over, I think that you will have an era of prosperity and peacefulness in that region that will endure for a very, very long time,” Kushner said.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks in Rabat alongside Israeli and Moroccan officials, December 22, 2020 (Judah Ari Gross)

Biden officials have embraced the Trump initiative, but have also expressed discomfort with some of the methods used by the previous administration to negotiate the accords, namely the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE and the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Still, they have worked to strengthen the existing normalization agreements, hosting multilateral forums with Abraham Accords members and expanding them to include other US and Israeli allies.

Biden also managed to convince Saudi Arabia to open its airspace to more flights to and from Israel, in a step Washington and Jerusalem hope will bring Riyadh closer to normalizing ties with the Jewish state. For its part, Saudi Arabia rejected the notion that the move is a precursor to normalization with Israel.

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