Secretary Pompeo Meets with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
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Leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain reportedly rejected special White House advisor Jared Kushner's push for normalization with Israel, as the US tries to seize on the momentum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) move, the Times of Israel reported Wednesday.
Kushner visited Bahrain on Tuesday, a week after a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Gulf state.
He met with King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who said stability in the region relied on Saudi Arabia, according to the official Bahrain News Agency -- underlining expectations that it will not strike a deal with Israel before the region's heavyweight acts.
Kushner later Tuesday met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia's northwest Neom region.
The pair discussed "the need to resume negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to achieve a just and lasting peace," according to the Saudi government news agency SPA.
Saudi Arabia had recently said it will not normalize relations until Israel agrees on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in keeping with the decades-old stance of most Arab nations and the Arab Peace Initiative conceived by Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani told Jared Kushner on Wednesday that Doha supports a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, to end the conflict with Israel, Reuters quoting a Qatari statement as saying.
Sheikh Tamim told Kushner Qatar remains committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which Arab nations offered Israel normalized ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Jared Kushner's visit to the Middle East followed a similar visit by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who failed to convince Sudan, Bahrain and Oman to establish relations with Israel like the United Arab Emirates which established ties with Israel on August 13.
US aiming for September 13 Israel-UAE signing ceremony
US President Donald Trump's administration is working toward holding a ceremony at the White House on September 13 for the formal signing of the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the Times of Israel reported Tuesday.
The paper quoted the Al-Quds newspaper report that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both pressured Arab leaders to attend the ceremony.
Despite September 13 falling on a Sunday, the source said that holding the Israel-UAE signing ceremony was "logical" then for several reasons.
The first was that it is the 27th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords at the White House in 1993, an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The source added that the date would be symbolic also in that it comes right after the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US.