US envoy: Priority to stop Qatar’s funding of terror

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley testifies to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “Advancing US Interests at the United Nations” in Washington. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 June 2017
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US envoy: Priority to stop Qatar’s funding of terror

JEDDAH: President Donald Trump’s priority in the Qatar crisis is to stop Doha’s funding of terrorist groups, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Wednesday.
During a hearing at the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Haley was asked about Trump’s praise of the Gulf blockade.
“Qatar has been funding ... We know they have done a lot with Hamas as we are dealing with Gaza and some other areas,” Haley said. “The president really does want to push out ISIS (Daesh), push out terrorism.”
Trump’s point in making Saudi Arabia his first foreign visit as president “was to say we’ve got to get rid of all these threats that we have,” she said.
When the Qatar crisis emerged, Doha’s funding of terrorism was Trump’s first thought, she added.
“Yes we have an air base there. Yes there are some ties, but he (Trump) sees the priority… is getting rid of ISIS and getting rid of terrorism,” said Haley.

Asked whether the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the solution or part of the problem in the Middle East, she said: “That is not something that has been discussed within the (US) administration. I’m not a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood, so I do think they are more problematic in the area than helpful.”
Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Desantis said there is a foundational ideological view that is motivating terrorism.
“The Brotherhood, I think, represents the foundation, and if we can deal with that, we can deal with the problem of radical Islamic terrorism much more holistically and likely to be more effective,” he said.


White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

Updated 42 min 54 sec ago
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White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

  • White House senior adviser Kushner will visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE

WASHINGTON: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will lead a US delegation on a tour of the Middle East to finalize details of his proposed $50 billion economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, an administration official said on Sunday.
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz are expected to make make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the official said.
They leave late this month and return to Washington in early August.
The official said the purpose of the trip is to “continue on the momentum that was created at the workshop in Bahrain and finalize the economic portion of the plan.”
They will also discuss the possibility of locating the development fund in Bahrain, the official said.
Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s main architect, sought to build support for his ambitious economic proposals for the Palestinian territories at an international meeting in Bahrain in June.
Palestinians poured scorn on the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment plan to help achieve Middle East peace, but US Gulf Arab allies said the economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.
Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week discussed creation of the fund with World Bank President David Malpass, the official said. The World Bank has a role in managing the fund.
The delegation was not expected to discuss Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and when it will be released remains unclear.