US envoys Kushner, Greenblatt hold talks with Jordanian king

US envoys Kushner, Greenblatt hold talks with Jordanian king

White House officials discuss Gaza, seek Arab pressure on Palestinians to begin dialogue based on soon-to-be-unveiled US proposal

Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks in Istanbul, Turkey, May 18, 2018 (Turkey Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP)
Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks in Istanbul, Turkey, May 18, 2018 (Turkey Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP)

AMMAN, Jordan — US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner held talks Tuesday with Jordan’s king ahead of an expected Israeli-Palestinian peace push.

Kushner, along with White House peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Jordan on Tuesday for talks with King Abdullah II, a key US ally. The meeting came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare trip to Amman for talks with Abdullah, after months of strained ties.

A White House statement said Tuesday’s talks included discussions on the Gaza humanitarian situation and US efforts to “facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

US officials have said their plan is near completion and could be released this summer. But it faces resistance from the Palestinians, who have cut off ties since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, and then moved the US embassy there in May.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (second left) and US President Donald Trump’s special envoys Jason Greenblatt (left) and Jared Kushner (center) meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the PMO in Jerusalem, June 21, 2017. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

Kushner’s team has also planned stops in Israel, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. No talks with the Palestinians are scheduled.

The Trump administration is seeking to convince moderate Arab allies to put pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate on the basis of the US peace proposal.

Greenblatt earlier hailed the Netanyahu-Abdullah meeting, the first publicly announced meeting between the two leaders since 2014.

“Happy to see King Abdullah and Prime Minister Netanyahu resuming meetings with regard to key issues. Very important to both countries and to the entire region,” Greenblatt tweeted.

Netanyahu’s office issued its own statement Monday about his meeting with the Jordanian king, saying, “The king and the prime minister discussed regional developments and advancing the peace process and bilateral relations. Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem.”

The rare meeting came after months of frayed ties between Jerusalem and Amman over the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy guard.

The two leaders are reported to have last spoken in July 2017 as Netanyahu sought Abdullah’s help in calming protests over metal detectors placed on the Temple Mount.

An aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned the US peace push and a reported plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from Gulf donors to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned Mideast countries “against cooperating with a move whose goal is to perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank and lead to concessions on Jerusalem and the holy sites.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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