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Kushner: 'Abraham Accord' in Discussion for Over a Year and a Half

Kushner: 'Abraham Accord' in Discussion for Over a Year and a Half

Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 06:15
White House advisor Jared Kushner says more Arab countries may strike deals soon with Israel Brendan Smialowski | AFP

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Thursday that the peace deal between Israel and the UAE, called the Abraham Accord, is something that’s been in discussions now for over a year and a half.


In a press briefing held Thursday in Washington and attended by Asharq Al-Awsat, Kushner predicted a "very good chance" of Israel and another Arab country announcing a peace deal within the next three months.


He described the Israeli-UAE deal as "an icebreaker between these two countries" and said that what "we'll hopefully see from there is more countries start to do the same."


According to Trump’s son-in-law, the Accord came following extensive diplomatic efforts that resumed following the 2017 Riyadh summit, when US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arab and laid out the problems that were facing the region and then, and after last year’s Manama summit which worked on encouraging economic relations between Israel and the Arab world.


Kushner said President Trump was able to get Israel to agree to have a two-state solution with the Palestinians and, for the first time in history, to agree to a map that outlined the territory that they would be willing to work with in order to see that happen.


“That showed a lot of people in the region that Israel was serious about really moving forward and making peace and also showed them that President Trump’s leadership and diplomacy could make things happen that hadn’t happened previously,” the advisor said.


He said over the last six weeks, the discussions between UAE and Israel started accelerating around this being a potential different path.


“A lot of people in the region are seeing that we can’t wait for the Palestinian leadership to try and resolve this. Every country is going to do what’s in their best interests, what’s in the region’s best interests,” Kushner said.


The advisor did not determine the time needed for the two countries to start signing agreements at the investment and security levels or to establish embassies and resume direct flights.


When asked how long did Israel agree to suspend its annexation plan on the West Bank, Kushner said, “The suspension will last — it’s going to take a while for these agreements to get fully enforced and to go. And I think that right now the focus that Israel is going to be applying is towards building this relationship.”


For his part, National security adviser Robert O'Brien said it wouldn’t surprise him if Trump is eventually nominated for a Nobel Prize for the peace deal.


“Today’s work is an example of why he would be rightly considered and should be a frontrunner for the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said.


The advisor spoke about tourism between Israel and the UAE.


“Israel is a great land for tourism. That’ll expand trade between the UAE and Israel, which both have incredible economies,” O’Brien said.


The UAE is now only the third Arab nation to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.


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