Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser and US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the coming days in an effort to “resolve the dispute between the Gulf countries”, a media report said.
Kushner will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, US officials told the Axios news outlet on Sunday.
Kushner has “close relationships” with both leaders, the report quoted the officials as saying.
During the trip, he will be accompanied by White House envoy Avi Berkowitz, International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler, and former Iran Ambassador Brian Hook.
“Fixing the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf and notch a last-minute achievement for Kushner and the Trump administration before January 20,” the Axios news report said.
On January 20, President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated.
The report further said: “The US maintains close ties with both Qatar and its rivals, but the Trump administration’s several attempts to reconcile the parties were unsuccessful.”
The officials told Axios that Kushner hopes to “convince the Saudi and Qatari leaders to reconcile and reach a deal on several outstanding issues”, adding that the senior adviser also wants to use the talks in Riyadh to “cement the agreement for Saudi Arabia to allow eastbound flights from Israel to pass through Saudi airspace”.
The news of Kushner’s upcoming visits came almost a week after Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a secret visit to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with the Crown Prince.
Netanyahu’s trip coincided with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was also in Riyadh at the time.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen.
Netanyahu and the Trump’s administration wish that Saudi Arabia would follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing ties with Israel.
Riyadh has declined to form formal ties with Israel, saying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be discussed first.
However, Riyadh recently announced Israeli airliners could fly over Saudi Arabia to newly available Gulf destinations and to Asia.