US envoy Kushner snubbed in Cairo after US cuts aid

On the way to meetings in Jerusalem, Kushner and the US team were snubbed by Cairo.

White House adviser Jared Kushner and visiting US officials have been snubbed by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo in apparent protest over a US cut in aid to Egypt.

The ministry says the country’s top diplomat, Sameh Shoukry, cancelled his meeting with Kushner and the others, which had been scheduled for later on Wednesday.

The US delegation is in Cairo as part of a Mideast tour to press Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, is heading a US delegation that includes Jason Greenblatt, envoy for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser.

The gesture comes after the Trump administration on Tuesday cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $200 million more in military financing, pending human rights improvements and action to ease harsh restrictions on civic and other non-governmental groups.

The moves underscore the US administration’s delicate diplomacy with Egypt, which has been widely criticized for its rights record and yet is a staunch counterterrorism partner.

A government statement says the American delegation will still meet with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Before Egypt, Kushner and the US officials traveled on Tuesday to Jordan, where they met with King Abdullah II, according to the state-run Petra News Agency.

The king acknowledged the importance of US involvement and Trump’s commitment to reach a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, the agency said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the delegation was in the Persian Gulf.

On Thursday, the American officials are expected to hold separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas.

Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell have been heavily involved in a behind-the-scenes process to help Trump broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, which he has called the “ultimate deal.”

The talks this week are aimed at helping forge a path to substantive peace negotiations, but no major breakthroughs are expected.

By: AP