Kushner meets Jordan king for talks on Mideast peace plan

AFP , Wednesday 31 Jul 2019

A handout picture released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on July 31, 2019, shows Jordanian King Abdullah II (R) meeting with US Senior Advisor Jared Kushner in the capital Amman AFP

US President Donald Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman on Wednesday, for talks on a controversial US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The two discussed "efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", the royal court said in a statement, adding that Kushner was "visiting Jordan on a tour that includes a number of countries in the region".

The initiative's economic aspects were launched in June by Kushner during a conference in Bahrain, dangling the prospect of $50 billion of investment into a stagnant Palestinian economy.

But the plan so far fails to address key issues such as an independent Palestinian state, Israeli occupation and the Palestinians' right to return to homes from which they fled or were expelled after Israel's creation in 1948.

Trump has taken the landmark step of recognising disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Kushner has suggested the peace plan would not mention a Palestinian state.

During their meeting, King Abdullah stressed "the need to achieve a just and lasting peace to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state... with east Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security alongside Israel", the court said.

He said any peace plan should be based on the internationally backed "two-state solution" and in accordance with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The initiative called on Israel to withdraw from all land it occupied in 1967, in exchange for normalisation between all Arab states and Israel.

Kushner was accompanied by Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, the royal court said.

An official in Trump's administration said earlier this month that Kushner would return to the Middle East to further push the plan, but did not give details of his expected itinerary.

On previous trips Kushner has visited Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Jordan, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, is home to 9.5 million people -- more than half of them of Palestinian origin.

Two thirds are Jordanian citizens, while the others are considered refugees who many Jordanians fear will be settled permanently and given citizenship if the Kushner plan goes through.

More than two million Palestinians in Jordan are UN-registered refugees.

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