AMMAN (Reuters) – The United States’s work on a brand new Middle East peace plan is “fairly well advanced”, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on Wednesday, although he supplied no particulars on an initiative which comes amid deep Palestinian scepticism about U.S. intentions.
Tillerson, who was talking throughout a go to to Jordan to signal a five-year $6.four billion support bundle that extends U.S. assist to a key Arab ally, stated President Donald Trump would resolve when to announce the peace plan.
The United States infuriated even its Arab allies in December when Trump acknowledged Jerusalem because the capital of Israel and initiated the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated he wouldn’t cooperate with the United States in its efforts as a mediator.
“I have seen the (administration’s peace) plan… It’s been under development for a number of months. I have consulted with them on the plan, identified areas that we feel need further work. I will say it’s fairly well advanced…” Tillerson stated.
There has been little element on the plan up to now. Officials informed Reuters in December it could take care of all main points, together with Jerusalem, borders, safety, the way forward for Jewish settlements on occupied land and the destiny of Palestinian refugees, and would additionally urge Saudi Arabia and different Gulf states to supply important monetary assist to the Palestinians.
The plan is being crafted by a workforce led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, each of whom have traveled to key regional capitals because the Trump administration got here to workplace.
Palestinians have grown more and more involved that any plan Trump unveils will shortchange them, a concern exacerbated by his transfer on Jerusalem, which upended many years of U.S. coverage that the standing of the traditional metropolis should be determined in negotiations.
Jerusalem is house to websites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Jordanian King Abdullah’s Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy websites, making Amman significantly delicate to any adjustments of standing there. The king has warned that Trump’s resolution may undermine stability and gasoline radicalism.
Jordanian international minister Ayman al-Safadi reiterated on Wednesday two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle was the “only solution we believe can work”.
The Trump administration has stated it could again a two-state answer if the events agreed to it.
Trump had threatened to chop off monetary support to international locations that backed a U.N. decision calling for Washington to reverse its Jerusalem resolution. Jordan backed the decision.
But the Trump administration has courted King Abdullah, a average pro-Western Arab chief whose kingdom has lengthy upheld U.S. pursuits in a turbulent area.
On Wednesday Tillerson met the king at his private residence the place the 2 emphasised robust U.S.-Jordanian ties.
Commenting on the memorandum of understanding signed for $6.375 billion in support on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department stated: “(It) highlights the pivotal role Jordan plays in helping foster and safeguard regional stability and supports U.S. objectives such as the global campaign to defeat ISIS, counter-terrorism cooperation, and economic development.”
ISIS is an acronym for the militant Islamic State group.
Conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq have broken Jordan’s financial system, forcing it to borrow closely from exterior and home sources. Jordan has been an vital a part of the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Tillerson can also be anticipated this week to go to Turkey, with which U.S. ties have turn out to be badly strained over Washington’s assist for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group.
Tillerson stated Washington needed to “find a way to continue to work in the same direction”.
He additionally expressed concern over Saturday’s confrontation between Israel and “Iranian assets” in Syria. Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli F-16 jet after it bombed a website utilized by Iran-backed forces in Syria.
Tillerson stated Iran ought to withdraw its forces and militias from Syria, the place Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad.
Responding to the feedback, a senior Iranian official, Ali Akbar Velayati, stated Iran’s army presence in Syria was authentic and primarily based on an invite from Damascus. He known as on U.S. forces to depart Syria.
Writing by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Gareth Jones