White House advisor Jared kushnerJared Corey Kushner The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC – COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Pompeo becomes first US diplomat to visit Israeli settlement, calls it boycott NYT anti-Semite Bruni suggests Ivanka Trump and Kushner move to North Korea or Saudi Arabia MORE will travel to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week, seeking to negotiate more diplomatic pacts in the Middle East in the final days of the Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Kushner hopes to bridge the divide between Qatar and the rest of the Gulf countries, according to the Journal, which noted that his visit followed pacts the United States brokered between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
White House aide Avi Berkowitz, who was heavily involved in negotiating the previous agreements, will accompany Kushner, the newspaper reported, adding that the negotiations will focus on Saudi-Qatari relations.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017 and imposed a blockade on the nation, accusing it of supporting extremist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, a noted the Journal.
US hopes for similar breakthrough between Israel and Saudi Arabia, especially after Israeli prime minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE reportedly met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, Saudis are reportedly reluctant to engage in further negotiations after president-elect Joe bidenJoe BidenTrump rages against ’60 minutes’ for interview with Krebs Cornyn Spox: Neera Tanden has ‘no chance’ of being confirmed as Biden’s OMB picks Five things to know about second round of the Georgia Senate LEARN MOREvictory earlier this month.
US and Kuwaiti officials have previously tried to negotiate a deal between Riyadh and Doha, to no avail. The four countries initially presented a list of 13 demands that included an additional freeze on Iran and the shutdown of state-owned Al Jazeera broadcaster, but backed down on some of them, the newspaper said.
Qatar sued the four countries earlier in 2020 for restricting it from their airspace. The Saudis are said to be open to an agreement on the airspace issue, but the UAE is less open to compromise unless the country agrees to drop its lawsuits.
Kushner last week held talks at the White House with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohamed al-Sabah, a key figure in the negotiations, according to the newspaper.
The Hill has contacted the White House for comment.