Kushner urges 'open mind' on upcoming Mideast plan: source




"2019 Prison Reform Summit" in Washington
"2019 Prison Reform Summit" in Washington  

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House senior adviser Jared Kushner urged a group of ambassadors on Wednesday to keep an "open mind" about President Donald Trump's upcoming Middle East peace proposal and said it will require compromises from both sides, a source familiar with his remarks said.

Kushner said the peace plan is to be unveiled after Israel forms a governing coalition in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in early June, the source said.

"We will all have to look for reasonable compromises that will make peace achievable," Kushner said, according to the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

Kushner, one of the main architects of the peace proposal and who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, spoke to about 100 ambassadors from around the world at Blair House, the presidential guest home across the street from the White House. He spoke as part of a State Department series of speeches.

The proposal has two major components: A political piece that addresses core political issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen their economy.

Unclear is whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians' core demand.

During his remarks, Kushner pushed back on the idea that the Trump peace plan was mostly centered around the economic package, saying the political component is "very detailed," the source said.

"He said the plan will require concessions from both sides but won't jeopardize the security of Israel," the source said.

"It requires everybody approaching the plan with an open mind."

The White House had no comment.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Netanyahu is unlikely to follow through on an election pledge to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank until after the United States has unveiled its plan.

"I think we will respect the efforts of the administration. I don't think we will see any major action done by our government before the peace plan will be presented," Danon told reporters in New York.

The Palestinians and many countries consider the settlements illegal under the Geneva conventions that bar settling on land captured in war. Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Susan Thomas and Dan Grebler)

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