Jared Kushner talks regional stability and UAE-Israel ties in Saudi Arabia

Jared Kushner talks regional stability and UAE-Israel ties in Saudi Arabia
Jared Kushner talks regional stability and UAE-Israel ties in Saudi Arabia

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - White House senior adviser Jared Kushner arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss regional stability and areas of co-operation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mr Kushner and his accompanying delegation flew to the kingdom from the UAE where it had arrived on the first commercial flight from Israel after a deal to normalise relations.

The US-brokered UAE-Israeli agreement was discussed by Mr Kushner and Prince Mohammed.

“They discussed the peace process and its horizons, as well as the need to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis to reach just and lasting peace,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan also attended the meeting.

Mr Kushner arrived in Saudi Arabia while on a regional trip that took him to Israel and the UAE.

From Saudi Arabia he headed to Qatar to meet Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss the Mideast peace process, according to Qatar’s state news agency. Mr Kushner is expected to make other stops, including in the UK on his way back to America to meet with British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

Prince Faisal two weeks ago described the UAE-Israel agreement as positive, but repeated Riyadh’s position that normalisation of relations with Israel would come after a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

“Any efforts that promote peace in the region and that result in holding back the threat of annexation could be viewed as positive,” he said.

“Peace must be achieved between the Palestinians and Israelis based on the internationally recognised parameters.

"Once that is achieved, all things are possible."

Separately on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow flights from all countries to the UAE to use its airspace. The move allows Israel – without directly naming it – to fly to the Emirates across the kingdom cutting travel time from upwards of 7 hours to around 3 hours.

Mr Kushner said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia was “very gracious” in allowing the flight he and an Israeli delegation took to the UAE to pass through its airspace.

SPA said the move comes in response to a “request by the UAE” to open routes to and from the country.

Prince Faisal wrote on Twitter that the kingdom’s “firm and established position toward the Palestinian cause and people will not change.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the announcement in an online video, signalling it involved his country.

“For years, I have been working to open the skies between Israel and the East,” he said, hailing the “tremendous breakthrough” that Israeli planes can now fly cheaply and quickly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and .

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt, one of two other Arab states to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, reiterated his country’s support for the UAE-Israel agreement. In a phone call with Mr Netanyahu, Mr El Sisi said Egypt supports “any steps” that may help establish an independent Palestinian state and “provide security to Israel,” according to the Egyptian leader’s office.

Updated: September 2, 2020 06:55 PM

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