Jared Kushner: US to present Middle East peace plan after Ramadan

Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to President Donald Trump, speaks during the TIME 100 Summit, in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (AP)
Updated 24 April 2019

Jared Kushner: US to present Middle East peace plan after Ramadan

  • Kushner was speaking at a forum of Time magazine
  • Kushner is a senior adviser to Donald Trump

NEW YORK: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner said Tuesday that he would present his long-awaited Middle East peace plan after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan ends in early June.

Kushner, speaking at a forum of Time magazine, said he had hoped to offer the proposal late last year but that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then called elections and still needs time to form a coalition.

“Once that’s done we’ll probably be in the middle of Ramadan, so we’ll wait until after Ramadan and then we’ll put our plan out,” said Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump.

Kushner, who is President Donald Trump's son-in-law, would not discuss any details of the plan, including whether it would endorse a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

The peace proposal has been in the works for two years and the process has been greeted with skepticism both on Capitol Hill and in global capitals.

(With Agencies)


Window for containing coronavirus in Mideast closing -WHO

Updated 7 min 17 sec ago

Window for containing coronavirus in Mideast closing -WHO

  • Says virus cases in Middle East doubled in a week, nearing 60,000 
  • On March 26, global COVID-19 cases crossed the 1 million mark

CAIRO: Governments in the Middle East need to act fast to limit the spread of the coronavirus after cases rose to nearly 60,000, almost double their level a week earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
“New cases have been reported in some of the most vulnerable countries with fragile health systems,” said Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO’s director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Djibouti, as well as Middle Eastern states.
“Even in countries with stronger heath systems, we have seen a worrying spike in the numbers of cases and deaths reported,” he said in a statement.
Outside of Iran, which has reported just over 50,000 cases, confirmed coronavirus numbers have been relatively low in the Middle East compared to Europe, the United States and Asia.
But health officials fear that cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the virus are under-reported and that many countries with weak governments and health systems eroded by conflict will struggle to cope.
“I cannot stress enough the urgency of the situation,” said Mandhari. “The increasing numbers of cases show that transmission is rapidly occurring at local and community levels.”
“We still have a window of opportunity, but this window is slowly closing day by day,” he added.
The total number of cases in the region has risen to 58,168 from 32,442 on March 26, the WHO said, on a day when global COVID-19 cases crossed the 1 million mark.
One of the countries worst affected by conflict is Yemen, where the World Bank said on Thursday it would provide $26.9 million in emergency funding to help the WHO and local authorities improve capacity for detecting, containing and treating the coronavirus.
Yemen has not confirmed any coronavirus cases but is seen as especially vulnerable because a five-year conflict has brought its health system to the brink of collapse.
It has already been struggling with overlapping infectious diseases including cholera, diphtheria and dengue fever, and large numbers of people have been displaced by the war.
About 24 million out of a population of 29 million need humanitarian assistance. There are no doctors in 18% of the country’s districts, most health care workers have not been paid for at least two years, and COVID-19 testing kits are available for just 600 people, according to the World Bank.
“The epidemic does pose unique public health risks in Yemen … given the already weak health system and the high vulnerability among the population,” said Marina Wes, the bank’s country director.