Kushner Arrives in Qatar for Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, meets with U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner in Doha, Wednesday. (Qatar News Agency/Handout via REUTERS)

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner arrived in Qatar and met with the country’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Wednesday, according to the official Qatar News Agency.

They reportedly discussed “developments in the region,” but no details were released.

The Times of Israel quoted analysts who expect Kushner will focus on efforts to resolve the three-year-long Gulf crisis, a stubborn standoff between a Saudi-led alliance and Qatar.

Cinzia Bianco, a research fellow at the European Council for International Relations, said Saudi Arabia was “considering a transitional trial phase to see if they can start resolving the dispute.”

Riyadh, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017 over allegations Doha was colluding with Iran and backing radical Islamists. Qatar denies the charges.

The boycotting countries have closed their airspace, land borders and sea channels to Qataris and vehicles registered there.

Kushner was also expected to again raise the issue of normalization with Israel, as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been hanging back.

He will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Neom — the Red Sea city where Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week reportedly held a secret talk with the prince, alongside U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Hopes to persuade the prince to follow the UAE and Bahrain did not pan out.

The Saudi foreign minister denied that such a meeting took place, despite confirmation by Israeli Education Minister Yoav Gallant and several anonymous sources.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have so far held out, insisting the Palestinian issue be resolved ahead of any normalizing of ties with Israel.