White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Pompeo becomes first top US diplomat to visit Israeli settlement, labels boycotts anti-Semitic NYT’s Bruni suggests Ivanka Trump, Kushner move to North Korea or Saudi Arabia MORE will travel to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week, seeking to broker more diplomatic pacts in the Middle East in the Trump administration’s final days, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Kushner hopes to mend the divide between Qatar and other Gulf nations, according to the Journal, which noted that his visit follows U.S.-brokered pacts between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
White House aide Avi Berkowitz, who was heavily involved in brokering the earlier deals, will accompany Kushner, the newspaper reported, adding that the negotiations will primarily involve Saudi-Qatari relations.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017 and imposed a blockade on the nation, accusing it of backing extremist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the Journal noted.
The U.S. has been hopeful for a similar breakthrough between Israel and Saudi Arabia, particularly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, the Saudis are reportedly reluctant to commit to further negotiations following President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump rages against ’60 Minutes’ for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has ‘no chance’ of being confirmed as Biden’s OMB pick Five things to know about Georgia’s Senate runoffs MORE’s win earlier this month.
Both U.S. and Kuwaiti officials have attempted to broker a deal between Riyadh and Doha before, to no avail. The four nations initially presented a list of 13 demands that included further freezing out Iran and shuttering state-owned TV network Al Jazeera, but have backed down on some of them, according to the newspaper.
Qatar sued the four countries earlier in 2020 for restricting it from their airspace. The Saudis are reportedly open to an agreement on the airspace issue, but the UAE is less open to compromise unless the country agrees to drop its lawsuits.
Kushner met last week at the White House with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, a key figure in the negotiations, according to the newspaper.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.