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White House's Kushner to finalise Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour - official

White House's Kushner to finalise Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour - official
FILE PHOTO: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is interviewed by Reuters at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo -
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Kevin Lamarque(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will lead a U.S. delegation on a tour of the Middle East to finalise details of his proposed $50 billion (40 billion pounds) economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, an administration official said on Sunday.

Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz are expected to make make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the official said.

They leave late this month and return to Washington in early August.

The official said the purpose of the trip is to “continue on the momentum that was created at the workshop in Bahrain and finalise the economic portion of the plan.”

They will also discuss the possibility of locating the development fund in Bahrain, the official said.

Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s main architect, sought to build support for his ambitious economic proposals for the Palestinian territories at an international meeting in Bahrain in June.

Palestinians poured scorn on the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment plan to help achieve Middle East peace, but U.S. Gulf Arab allies said the economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.

Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week discussed creation of the fund with World Bank President David Malpass, the official said. The World Bank has a role in managing the fund.

The delegation was not expected to discuss Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and when it will be released remains unclear.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Shumaker)

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