Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week in a bid to ease tensions in the region, including the ongoing rift between Qatar and its neighbors.
Kushner, who’s also Trump’s 39-year-old son-in-law, will first go to Neom, Saudi Arabia, according to two people familiar with the matter.
His visit comes a few weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met there with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and, according to Israeli media, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Kushner’s team hopes to make progress on a three-year rift between Qatar and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council over allegations from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that Qatar supports terrorism.
The U.S. team recently helped negotiate three normalization agreements in the Middle East, and discussions about a similar deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel are likely to come up.
People familiar with his schedule say Kushner met last week with Kuwaiti foreign minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, who’s played an important role in recent mediation efforts.
The trip also comes in the aftermath of the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran, which has roiled regional relations yet again. Iran accused Israel and the U.S. of being behind the assassination and vowed revenge, sharply escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency.
Over the weekend, a panel of OPEC+ ministers also couldn’t reach an agreement on whether to delay January’s oil-output increase, leaving the matter unresolved before a full meeting of the cartel and its allies on Monday.
Expected to travel with Kushner will be White House envoy Avi Berkowitz, International Development Finance Corporation chief Adam Boehler, and former Iran envoy Brian Hook.
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