Trump silent on timetable for peace plan

At meeting with Jordanian King, Trump says "progress" made in the Middle East but won't offer timetable for announcing Israel-PA peace plan.

Elad Benari,

King Abdullah II and Donald Trump
King Abdullah II and Donald Trump
Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday declined to offer a timetable for announcing his proposed Middle East peace plan, saying only that "progress" had been made in tackling the complex issue.

Speaking after a meeting at the White House with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Trump hedged when asked by reporters to give a schedule for rolling out the peace plan his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is working on.

"A lot of progress has been made in the Middle East, a lot," he said, according to AFP.

"It really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal, that deal was a disaster, and things are a lot different since we ended that, a lot different," he said, before heading off to a photo opportunity with the Jordanian leader.

Kushner has just completed a tour of the region with the administration's special envoy, Jason Greenblatt.

The two met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but did not visit Ramallah or meet any Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.

The reason for this is that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for peace negotiations with Israel since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

In an interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on the weekend, Kushner reiterated the U.S. commitment to relaunching the stalled Middle East peace process, though he questioned whether Abbas could actually reach a deal.

"To make a deal, both sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions," he said. "I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal."

Kushner’s remarks angered PA officials. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat on Sunday blasted Kushner, saying his interview showed "there's nothing of substance" coming from the Trump Administration.

"Kushner represents a policy of dictation rather than negotiations. It is the Trump Administration that has walked away from the negotiations, from international law and UN resolutions," Erekat charged.

While Trump’s peace plan has not yet been made public, PA officials have already rejected it outright, claiming it has been coordinated with Israel.

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh last week said that Greenblatt and Kushner are promoting a "meaningless plan" and "will achieve nothing.”


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