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Later this week, Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar in an effort to achieve “diplomatic victories” in the region before leaving the White House, according to media reports.
The American Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed US and Gulf officials as saying that this visit will focus in particular on resolving the existing dispute between Qatar and the Saudi-led coalition, but there may be a number of other issues on the agenda.
The newspaper said that Kushner will be accompanied by Avi Berkowitz, the president’s Middle East advisor, and Brian Hook, the former US envoy to Iran.
The “Financial Times” newspaper quoted sources it described as “informed of the talks” (30 November 2020), that Saudi Arabia is currently intensifying its efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis, which has been going on for more than three years, after President Donald Trump’s defeat in the elections.
The newspaper considered that this step to end the boycott of Qatar by three Gulf countries is seen as a Saudi attempt to win the friendship of the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden and bid farewell to Mr. Trump.
The newspaper also believes that the next administration of President-elect Joe Biden, will necessarily be “much cooler” towards Saudi Arabia.
The newspaper quoted an adviser to Saudi Arabia and the UAE describing the talks as “a gift to Biden.”
That adviser added to the American newspaper that Saudi and Emirati leaders want to “de-escalate” the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera network and end its criticism of Saudi Arabia.
It also quoted the Saudi analyst close to the royal court, Ali Al-Shehabi, as saying that Saudi leaders have been “open to resolving this issue” for several months, “and that they have” worked for some time to close many hot files and it is clear that this is one of them. ”
According to the newspaper, the Trump administration fears that the dispute will weaken the Arab coalition that it sought to form against Iran, and it is also frustrated that Tehran has benefited financially since the situation, as it is imposed to prohibit flights to and from Qatar using Iranian airspace.
The newspaper quoted a diplomat familiar with the talks as saying that “the recent talks that took place between the United States and Kuwait aimed to pave the way for direct negotiations between Riyadh and Doha.”
According to the newspaper, Qatar wants to make sure that there are some preconditions before any bilateral talks, and it quoted the same diplomatic source as saying that these conditions could include “confidence-building” measures such as lifting the air embargo and allowing the free movement of Qatari citizens to and from the countries that imposed the ban, until If Doha wanted guarantees of their safety.
And US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said this month that he hoped Qatar Airways would be able to fly over the blockading countries “within the next seventy days” before the end of Trump’s presidency.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have imposed an air, sea and land embargo on Qatar since June 2017, accusing it of approaching Iran and supporting extremist Islamic groups, which Doha denies.
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