Trump cites Middle East progress, hosts Jordan’s King Abdullah

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Queen Rania at the White House on June 25, 2018. (AP)

President Donald Trump said on Monday that a lot of progress had been made in the Middle East, but he declined to say when the White House would release its plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump, during a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, said things had improved since he pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European allies opposed that move. “Things are a lot different since we ended that,” Trump said.

In an interview with a Palestinian newspaper published on Sunday, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon and would press on with or without Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Kushner in Jordan, Saudi

Kushner visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the US Embassy there, overriding decades of US policy.

Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader’s moderate camp.

In the interview with Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, Kushner, who was meeting with leaders in the region but not Abbas, refused to go into details on his peace plan.

The US plan is expected to propose solutions to core issues in dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, such as borders, the future of Israeli settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security.

President Trump (2R) and First Lady Melania Trump greet Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania in Washington, DC on June 25, 2018. (AFP)

President Trump (2R) and First Lady Melania Trump greet Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania in Washington, DC on June 25, 2018. (AFP)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is hosting Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House. The president and first lady Melania Trump greeted Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania, on Monday afternoon. The couples will be meeting in the Oval Office before Trump, Abdullah and their aides sit down for talks.

The White House had said the allies would be discussing “terrorism, the threat from Iran and the crisis in Syria, and working towards a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner recently met with Abdullah as part of a Middle East trip to lay the groundwork for an expected Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

(With AP inputs)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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