White House adviser Jared Kushner says ‘stage is set’ for Mideast progress

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White House adviser Jared Kushner on Sunday said “the stage is set” for other Arab states to follow suit in the wake of the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but he gave no indication that any new deals were imminent.

Appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Kushner spoke a day before he is to join a senior Israeli delegation on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE.

The Aug. 13 announcement makes the UAE just the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, and the first to do so in over 25 years.

“Today obviously we celebrate a historic breakthrough for peace,” Kushner said, adding that the deal will create “previously unthinkable” economic, security and religious cooperation.

“While this peace agreement was thought by many to be impossible, the stage is now set for even more,” he said, claiming he has heard optimism throughout the region since the deal was announced.

“We must seize that optimism and we must continue to push to make this region achieve the potential that it truly has,” said Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser.

Israel and the UAE have moved quickly to cement their ties over the past two weeks. Almost immediately, they opened direct phone lines, and Cabinet ministers have held friendly phone conversations.

On Saturday, the UAE formally ended its commercial boycott of Israel.

Monday’s flight of an El Al plane from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi will be the first known flight of an Israeli commercial airliner from Israel to the Emirates. The two Mideast countries are expected to sign a formal agreement at the White House in the coming weeks.

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