Abu Dhabi: Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week in frantic effort to resolve the ongoing dispute between the Gulf neighbours, CNN reported.
The trip could create a last-ditch diplomatic victory for the Trump administration by solving a long-running rift between Qatar and a number of other Arab countries, all of whom are American allies.
In June 2017 Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar over its support for terrorism and relations with Iran.
Qatari airplanes and ships were banned from using the airspace and sea routes of the four countries, and the only land crossing into the country was blocked by Saudi Arabia.
US officials also hope to seal an agreement with Saudi Arabia to allow more flights from Israel to pass through Saudi airspace.
As a special adviser to the president Donald Trump, Kushner will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, a senior US administration official told CNN.
Through his role in helping to normalise relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, Kushner has developed close relationships with both leaders during his trips to the region.
Indeed, his rapport with Gulf leaders was reportedly very important in the closing stages of putting together the Abraham Accords peace deal, signed at the White House in September.
While the Saudis have made some positive gestures in favour of the accords, such as approving Bahrain’s involvement and allowing Israeli airlines to use their airspace, they have not agreed to normalise relations.
Were the Trump administration to resolve the disagreement between the Gulf states and Qatar, and bring Saudi Arabia and Israel to the negotiating table, it would be a diplomatic triumph in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
US allies in the region could then stand shoulder-to-shoulder in their opposition to Iran.
The trip also comes just days after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, condemned by both UAE and Qatar.
Accompanying Kushner will be White House envoy Avi Berkowitz, International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler, and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, involved in previous efforts to resolve the Qatar dispute and now a special adviser.