Trump says ‘a lot of progress’ made in Middle East
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Trump says ‘a lot of progress’ made in Middle East

Hosting Jordan's king at the White House, US president says advances came after he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal

US President Donald Trump, left  and Jordan's King Abdullah II walk to the Oval Office of the White House June 25, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US President Donald Trump, left and Jordan's King Abdullah II walk to the Oval Office of the White House June 25, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

US President Donald Trump said Monday that a “lot of progress” has been made in the Middle East, but did not identify specific areas of improvement.

Trump made the remarks as he welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan to the White House for a working visit. Abdullah recently met in Jordan with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, who has been working on a plan to help achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump ignored a question about when he would make the plan public, but said “we’re doing very well” in the Middle East.

Kushner, who also met with other top regional officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the plan will be released soon. It is likely to face stiff opposition from the Palestinians, who cut contacts with the US in the wake of Trumps’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I can only say this, and his majesty knows, we’re doing very well in the Middle East. A lot of progress has been made in the Middle East, a lot, and it really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal,” Trump said Monday. “That deal was a disaster and things are a lot different since we ended that, a lot different.”

Trump in May withdrew the US from a landmark nuclear accord with Iran reinstating harsh sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Tehran agreeing to curb its nuclear program.

The White House had said Trump and the king would discuss terrorism, threats from Iran, the crisis in Syria and working toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

During his tour in the region, Kushner did not meet with any Ramallah officials, who have refused to meet US representatives since the December decision on Jerusalem.

Palestinian officials have also voiced harsh criticism of Trump and his envoys in recent days.

The pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom reported late Sunday that senior officials in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and ‎the United Arab Emirates have indicated to the US team that they are prepared to back the Trump administration peace plan even if the Palestinian Authority rejects it. There was no confirmation of the report, which quoted unnamed sources in Cairo and Amman.

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