White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner is set to lead a U.S. delegation on a Middle East mission to finalize details of Washington’s proposed $50 billion regional economic development plan.
An administration official announced that Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz will make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and primary architect of the proposal, sought to build support for his ambitious economic vision for the Palestinian territories at an international summit in Bahrain this past June. White House sources say the upcoming delegation intends to follow up on the momentum created at that workshop by completing economic details of the plan, including the possibility of locating the development fund in Manama. This past week, Kushner and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly discussed creation of the fund with David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, which has a role in its management.
The slated visit will begin in the coming days, and return to Washington in early August.
The Palestinian Authority has boycotted all White House attempts to negotiate a resolution to their conflict with Israel, although Gulf Arab allies of the U.S. said the initiative has promise if a political settlement is achieved. At the start of this month, Kushner announced that U.S. President Donald Trump remains open to negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been harshly critical of the economic plan.
The delegation is not expected to discuss President Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and the timing of its eventual release remains unknown.