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White House’s Kushner headed to Saudi, Qatar: reports

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week in a bid for further diplomatic deals in the region before leaving the White House, according to media reports Sunday.

The visits would focus on resolving a dispute between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance, the Wall Street Journal reported, but a number of issues could be on the agenda.

His trip comes days after the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist blamed on Israel, heightening tensions in the region.

The clock is also ticking on Trump’s time in office, with President-elect Joe Biden due to be sworn in on January 20.

Kushner has sought various deals in the region and has developed a relationship with Saudi Arabia’s divisive de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In recent months, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have announced normalization deals with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords, pursued by the White House represented by Kushner.

Sudan has also agreed in principle to normalize ties with Israel.

Saudi Arabia has publicly insisted it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not having ties with Israel until it reaches a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Wall Street Journal reported that Kushner would be joined on the trip by Avi Berkowitz, an assistant to the president, and Brian Hook, who was the administration’s pointman on Iran policy until he announced he was stepping down in August.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.