Pompeo and Kushner to tour Middle East to push for more Arab-Israel normalisation deals

Pompeo and Kushner to tour Middle East to push for more Arab-Israel normalisation deals
Pompeo and Kushner's upcoming trips to Arab states are aimed at finalising at least one further normalisation deal with Israel, diplomatic sources said.
2 min read
23 August, 2020
Pompeo (L) and Kushner (R) are set to make separate Middle East visits [Getty]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit Israel on Monday and the United Arab Emirates the following day to discuss the two countries' decision to normalise relations, diplomatic sources said.

Pompeo's trip is also expected to encompass visits to Oman, Qatar and Sudan, although the itinerary has not been publicly announced.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is slated to make separate trips to Israel, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Morocco in early September, in a parallel effort to push the US-brokered normalisation agreement, the first of its kind between Israel and a Gulf Arab country.

Neither trips are expected to result in announcements of immediate breakthrough of further Arab-Israeli ties, according to the sources, although both are aimed at finalising at least one, and potentially more, normalisation deals with Israel in the near future.

Pompeo also plans to meet in Qatar with members of the Taliban to discuss intra-Afghan peace talks that are key to the withdrawal of remaining US forces in Afghanistan, the diplomats said.

The White House and State Department had no comment on the planned trips, which will come as the administration steps up efforts to push for Arab-Israeli normalisation despite providing no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They also come as the administration has taken the controversial step of triggering the restoration of all international sanctions on Iran, something that only Israel and the Gulf Arab nations have publicly supported.

The visits are also said to include discussions on regional security threats posed by Iran and China.

Read also: 'Deal of shame': UAE formally endorses Israel's occupation of Palestine

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on August 13 that they would establish full diplomatic relations, in a US-brokered deal that mandates Israel halt its plan to annex occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The historic agreement delivered a key foreign policy victory to Trump ahead of his reelection bid, and also reflected changing priorities in the Gulf, whose leaders' shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinian cause.

US and Israeli officials have suggested that more Arab nations may soon follow the UAE's lead, with Bahrain and Oman believed to be closest to sealing such deals.

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