President Donald Trump's Mideast team arrived in Egypt on Thursday, the White House said, the latest stop in a regional tour to discuss a blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt met with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in the capital Cairo. The visit is part of efforts to overcome the towering obstacles to the deal the team is in charge of drafting.
Egypt airport officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, confirmed their arrival in Cairo earlier Thursday and said the visit would last a few hours.
The meeting touched upon “the need to facilitate humanitarian relief to Gaza,” the White House said in a statement. The blockaded and densely populated Gaza strip, ruled by the Palestinian Hamas militant group, has sunk into a deep humanitarian crisis, especially after the flare-up of violence with Israelis amid protests at the border in recent weeks.
Kushner has been leading efforts to broker a peace deal between the two sides. U.S. officials have said the long-awaited peace plan is near completion and should be released this summer following several postponements.
The Trump team met Tuesday with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Wednesday with Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who acknowledged the talks only after the fact. They were expected to visit Qatar and Israel, but have not released an official itinerary.
Thursday's meeting with the U.S. delegation also dealt with increasing Egyptian-American cooperation, the White House said without elaborating.
Egypt's presidency released a statement after the meeting saying it mainly discussed the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts and cooperation. It said the meeting was attended by Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the acting head of general intelligence Abbas Kamel.
Washington gives Egypt some $1.3 billion in annual military assistance and hundreds of millions more in civilian aid that is linked to Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and underpins a U.S.-Egyptian security relationship that is now mostly aimed at fighting terrorism.