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Jared Kushner to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar to resolve diplomatic dispute between the two countries

Last attempt by the Trump Administration to reach a historic agreement in the Middle East before the departure of the Republican President
Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States

AP/ANDREW HARNIK  -   Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States

Jared Kushner, White House adviser and son-in-law of the acting president Donald Trump, will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the coming days in a final attempt to settle the long-running dispute between the two Gulf countries.

According to the American media outlet Axios, Jared Kushner will attempt to reach a final understanding in the Middle East following the historic Abraham Agreements brokered by the United States whereby the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain established diplomatic ties with a traditional rival of the Arab world, Israel. 

The aim now is to materialise another historic understanding between two enemies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Saudi kingdom and the Qatari monarchy have been at loggerheads for years after both the kingdom and the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt established an economic and political blockade in 2017 after accusing the Qatari state of supporting cross-border terrorism. 

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, whose airspace and sea routes were closed after it denounced the complicity of the Qatari authorities with terrorist groups financed by Iran, something which the Qatari state denied at the time. This is the root of the underground confrontation between Saudi Arabia, the main representative of the Sunni branch of Islam, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the main sponsor of the rival Shia current, over regional domination. 

El príncipe heredero de Arabia Saudí, Mohamed bin Salman
AFP/Saudi Royal Palace - Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman

Jared Kushner will meet the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, according to official US sources. President Trump's adviser will be accompanied by the White House envoy, Avi Berkowitz, the executive director of the International Development Finance Corporation, Adam Boehler, and the former envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, who is now an unpaid special adviser and has participated in previous efforts to resolve the tension.

Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law intends to convince both leaders in their forthcoming meetings of a reconciliation that would mark a genuine milestone in the Middle East and a finishing touch to the international policy of Donald Trump's government, which will be replaced by the executive of Joe Biden, the winner of the last US presidential elections.  Another aim of these meetings is for Saudi Arabia to allow flights to and from Israel to pass through its airspace.

Regional tension is currently growing owing to the assassination of Mohsen Fajrizadeh, the Iranian scientist identified by various secret services as the ideologue of an alleged secret nuclear bomb programme, who was killed in an ambush near Teheran on Friday, a fact which threatens to trigger a fresh clash between Iran and its international enemies (led by the United States and Saudi Arabia). Precisely after this event Israel alerted its embassies to possible Persian reprisals; and this coincides with the arrival of the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in Gulf waters, which has aroused a certain amount of alarm. 

El emir de Qatar, el jeque Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
AP/JON GAMBRELL - The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

A high-ranking official indicated on Sunday that Kushner will meet the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi Arabian city of Neom and the Emir of Qatar in that country in the next few days. Following the agreements between the Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan and Israel, the US administration official said they would like to promote more pacts of this kind before Donald Trump hands over power to President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January.

Another senior official told Reuters that Kushner met the Kuwaiti foreign minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah at the White House last week, as the Kuwaiti nation is considered essential to any effort to bridge the gap that has opened up between Qatar and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the past three years.