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After UAE-Israel accord, Kushner pushes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain to go next

Reuters/Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE
Filed on September 2, 2020 | Last updated on September 2, 2020 at 07.10 am
jared Kushner, uae, Bahrain, Saudi arabia, Israel, united states, normalisation
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) during his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 1, 2020.

(Reuters)

In Saudi, Mohammed bin Salman and Kushner discussed the need for Palestinians and Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace.

After accompanying an Israeli delegation to the UAE for historic normalisation talks, White House adviser Jared Kushner set off on a tour of other Gulf capitals on Tuesday, looking for more Arab support.

Israel and the UAE set up a joint committee to cooperate on financial services at the talks in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, accompanied the Israeli delegation on Monday on what was billed as the first Israeli commercial flight to the UAE, which agreed in August to normalise relations.

Israel exchanged embassies with neighbours Egypt and Jordan under peace deals decades ago. But until now, all other Arab states had demanded it first cede more land to the Palestinians.

In remarks reported by the UAE state news agency Wam, Kushner suggested other Arab states could follow quickly. Asked when the next would normalise ties with Israel, he was quoted as saying: "Let's hope it's months."

Kushner later flew to Bahrain and then Saudi Arabia. In Bahrain, which houses the US naval headquarters for the region, the state news agency reported that during his meeting with Kushner, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had praised the role the UAE has played.

In Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defence, and Kushner discussed the need for the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace, state news agency SPA reported.

The UAE, United States and Israel on Monday urged the Palestinians to "re-engage" with the Israelis, according to a joint statement carried by the Emirati state news agency.

Israeli officials have played up the economic benefits of the UAE deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said representatives of the two countries had signed an agreement on cooperation in financial services.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Invest in Israel, part of Israel's economy ministry, issued a joint statement saying they had agreed to set out a plan to establish formal cooperation.

The Gulf state's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank later said it would open discussions with Israel lenders Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.

Amid the historic normalisation talks, Kushner spent a morning meeting UAE military officials at an Abu Dhabi air base that houses US military F-35 jets, advanced stealth aircraft which the Gulf state has long sought to buy despite Israeli objections.

 


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