ANKARA (Reuters) - White House adviser Jared Kushner discussed his Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, and the two also discussed increasing U.S.-Turkish cooperation and ways to boost economic conditions in the region.
Kushner, who has responsibility for Washington’s Israel-Palestinian policy, has said the peace plan will address final-status issues of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including establishing borders.
The White House said the meeting with Erdogan included Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.
“They discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and Turkey, and the Trump administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” the White House said. “Additionally, they discussed ways to improve the condition of the entire region through economic investment.”
Erdogan has been one of the most vocal critics of U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Israel.
Last year he said the United States had forfeited its role as mediator in the Middle East by moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
“The United States has chosen to be part of the problem rather than the solution,” the Turkish president said last May, days before he hosted a summit of Muslim leaders which threatened economic measures against countries which followed the United States in moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
Israel calls all of Jerusalem its “eternal and undivided capital”, a status not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured and occupied by Israel in a 1967 war, as capital of a future state.
In an interview broadcast on Monday on Sky News Arabia during a visit to U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states, Kushner made no specific mention of a Palestinian state, whose creation had been a key goal of Washington’s peace efforts for two decades.
But he said the long-awaited peace proposal would build on “a lot of the efforts in the past”, including the 1990s Oslo accords that provided a foundation for Palestinian statehood, and would require concessions from both sides.
U.S. officials said that Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, is expected to focus on the economic component of the plan during his week-long trip to the region.
Reporting by Mert Ozkan; Writing by Daren Butler; editing by Gareth Jones