US officials visiting Mideast to seek backing for peace plan

White House officials set to rally support for Middle East peace plan

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will reportedly travel throughout the Middle East later this month to promote the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Officials said they realized that the Arab diplomats Kushner meets will want to know elements of the political component before rendering a judgment on the economic plan.

His weeklong trip, which is scheduled to include stops in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and possibly Morocco, is planned for the last week of February.

Through the visits, the USA hopes to gather support and build a diplomatic strategy for the peace plan, set to be unveiled after the April 9 parliamentary elections in Israel.

The top United States officials will share details of the economic portion of their peace plan with several wealthy Arab countries as they look to secure financial support for the economic plan, which is created to boost the Palestinian economy if Israelis and Palestinians reach a political settlement. Accompanying him will be special envoy Jason Greenblatt, U.S. special representative Brian Hook and deputy assistant to the president Avi Berkowitz. Kushner is not visiting Israel on this trip, the officials said.

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During the discussion with Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, he is expected to give an update on the peace effort and what the administration hopes to accomplish in the coming weeks and months.

In Warsaw, Kushner will be attending a gathering that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said will focus on Middle East stability and efforts to keep Iran from being a destabilising influence in the region.

"The malicious intentions of this administration were reiterated by US President Donald Trump in his State of the Union speech to Congress in which he stressed continuing with the policy of absolute bias toward Israel", said the statement carried on official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Palestinian President Mohammed Abbas refuses to negotiate with the United States after President Trump chose to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and declare the Holy City as Israel's capital. Trump's subsequent decision to cut virtually all funding to the Palestinians has entrenched the Palestinian refusal to engage.

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