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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trump's son-in-law Kushner begins peace push with Middle East talks

JERUSALEM, June 21 (Reuters) - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, beginning a new U.S. effort to revive Middle East peace efforts.
Kushner, a 36-year-old real estate developer with little experience of international diplomacy and peace negotiations, arrived in Israel early on Wednesday and will spend barely 20 hours on the ground - he departs shortly after midnight.
During his stopover, he will meet Netanyahu for their first formal discussions on peace, before travelling to Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, for talks with Abbas after Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast.
U.S. officials are calling the trip part of an effort to keep the conversation going rather than the launching of a new phase in the peace process, saying that Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the president's special representative for international negotiations, are likely to return repeatedly.
Greenblatt arrived in Israel on Monday for preliminary discussions in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will remain for follow-up talks after Kushner has departed, officials said.
Trump has described a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians as "the ultimate deal" and made it a priority since taking office: he's received both Netanyahu and Abbas in the White House and visited the region last month.
But it remains unclear what approach Trump, via Kushner and Greenblatt, plans to take on resolving one of the world's most intractable conflicts. READ MORE