White House adviser Jared Kushner will travel to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week, seeking to broker more diplomatic pacts in the Middle East in the Trump administration’s final days.
A person familiar with the matter confirmed the planned trip to The Hill. The Wall Street Journal first reported the trip.
Kushner’s trip follows U.S.-brokered pacts between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
White House aide Avi Berkowitz, who was heavily involved in brokering the earlier deals, will accompany Kushner, the Journal reported, adding that the negotiations will primarily involve Saudi-Qatari relations.
It wrote that Kushner hopes to mend the divide between Qatar and other Gulf nations.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017 and imposed a blockade on Qatar, accusing it of backing extremist groups.
The U.S. has been hopeful for a similar breakthrough between Israel and Saudi Arabia, particularly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, the Saudis are reportedly reluctant to commit to further negotiations following President-elect Joe Biden’s win earlier this month.
Both U.S. and Kuwaiti officials have attempted to broker a deal between Riyadh and Doha before, to no avail. The four nations initially presented a list of 13 demands that included further freezing out Iran and shuttering state-funded TV network Al Jazeera, but have backed down on some of them, the Journal reported.
Qatar sued the four countries earlier in 2020 for restricting it from their airspace. The Saudis are reportedly open to an agreement on the airspace issue, but the UAE is less open to compromise unless the country agrees to drop its lawsuits.