US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner heads a delegation to the Middle East, signaling a new impulse to a long-awaited peace plan for the region.
Kushner is accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations, and Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran, said Tuesday.
The delegation began its journey in the Moroccan capital of Rabat and was due to travel to Amman, Jordan and Jerusalem a week later.
A white house official told Reuters News Agency one of the reasons for this week's journey is to increase support for a conference in June 25-26 in Manama, Bahrain, where Kushner will reveal the first part of Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
The proposal that Trump regards as the "century" must promote investment in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries before dealing with major political problems at the heart of the conflict.
The Palestinians have already rejected the plan as highly biased in favor of Israel and refused to participate in the Manama meeting. The Palestinian leaders said they were not heard about the conference and stressed that any solution to the conflict should be political.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will participate, but Russia and China have said they will not send delegations. 1
Washington has yet to commit to a precise timetable for the political aspects of the peace plan.
Kushner is the proposal's chief architect, and Greenblatt, a long-standing Trump lawyer, has served as his right hand on the Middle East initiative.
Reporting from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna said Kushner was probably trying to drum support for the Bahrain conference.
"It seems that this trip is linked to the conference scheduled for Bahrain next month, when Jared Kushner says economic aspects of his proposal for Israel-Palestine should be discussed. He has insisted that the economic aspect of this Agreement must be resolved before the political aspects can be resolved, "he said.
"Significantly, the King of Jordan has not indicated whether he will attend this conference in Bahrain. Morocco has also not specified whether it will be present. It is very important for Jared Kushner to convince Jordan and Morocco for to attend the conference, otherwise it may lose the credibility it may have, "he added.
Weapons Sale to Saudi
Kushner's turn comes just a few days after Trump approved $ 8.1 billion. In the arms trade to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies who bypassed the US Congress, which had frozen arms trade to the kingdom following the assassination of Saudi author Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and stressed concerns about the human toll in a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
But the Trump administration defended the sale as necessary "to avert Iranian aggression and build the self-defense capacity of the partner defense".
Kushner has been looking at an alliance with the Saudis against Iran as a way to get Arab support for the US peace plan.