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Kushner keen to keep up ‘momentum’ on Mideast peace

Senior White House aide Jared Kushner voiced hope Thursday for further progress on Middle East peace as he prepared to join the first commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law will be joined on the trip from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi next week by administration officials including National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and several Israeli government experts.

It follows a US-brokered agreement in mid-August to establish full diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE, making the monarchy just the third Arab country to recognize the Jewish state, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

“I’m very focused on my trip next week to the Middle East,” Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, said in an interview with the news website Politico.

“Hopefully we can, you know, make this peace agreement… hold very, very firmly and hopefully we can use this breakthrough to get more momentum,” he said.

The deal was an important foreign policy coup for President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election in November and has few successes on the diplomatic front.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday finished a visit to several Arab countries without getting them to follow in the UAE’s footsteps.

A senior White House official described the flight as a “historic event” that is a “significant step forward.”