Trump Middle East adviser Kushner holds talks with EU leaders on peace plan

Special Adviser to the US President, Jared Kushner, travelled to Brussels from London, where his father-in-law Donald Trump is making a state visit. (AFP)
Updated 04 June 2019

Trump Middle East adviser Kushner holds talks with EU leaders on peace plan

  • They discussed the Middle East situation and other geopolitical issues
  • The trip comes with international hopes for a US peace plan for the Middle East running low

BRUSSELS: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East peace adviser Jared Kushner met European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker for talks in Brussels on Tuesday.
Kushner arrived in Brussels from London, where his father-in-law is making a state visit, and the trip came with international hopes dimming for a US peace plan for the Middle East.
Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters they would discuss “the Middle East situation and other geopolitical issues,” without giving further details. EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini also took part in the meeting.
Trump, whose administration has staunchly backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acknowledged doubts about the plan himself on Monday, while Kushner suggested that Palestinians were not ready to govern themselves.
The United States is to lay out an economic component of the plan, which has been spearheaded by Kushner, on June 25 and 26 in Bahrain, where Gulf Arab states are expected to make pledges to boost the troubled Palestinian economy.
But it is not clear when the political aspects of the plan — which are expected to avoid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state — will be unveiled.
Abandoning the call for a Palestinian state would end years of US support for the so-called “two-state” solution, which envisages separate homelands for Jews and Palestinians.
The EU is still firmly behind the two-state solution with Jerusalem as capital of both states — in contrast to Washington, which has recognized the city as Israel’s capital.


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.