President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is headed to the Middle East this week, where he will attempt to secure a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a White House official confirmed to The Washington Post Sunday.
He will be accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to Trump and special representative for international negotiations. The pair will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Trump has deputized the men with leading U.S. efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, and they helped put together Trump's first trip to the region one month ago.
The White House official was quick to tell the Post not to expect much out of this trip, saying, "It is important to remember that forging a historic peace agreement will take time and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits by both Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to the region and possibly many trips by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington, D.C., or other locations as they pursue substantive talks." Catherine Garcia
The United States and Russia reached a cease-fire agreement over the conflict in Syria early Saturday morning, a deal made after days of intense negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
"Today the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering, and resume movement toward a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria," Kerry said. "We are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking, but it is dependent on people's choices."
"This all creates the necessary conditions for resumption of the political process, which has been stalling for a long time," Lavrov added.
The truce will go into effect Monday evening at sundown, timing which corresponds with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, and will allow much-needed humanitarian aid to make its way into Syria's devastated cities. After a week, American and Russian forces will begin cooperating to target Islamic State and al Qaeda militants in Syria, and Russia has pledged to stop the Bashar al-Assad regime from flying over rebel-controlled regions to drop barrel bombs and chlorine gas attacks. In return, the U.S. will pressure opposition forces to stop working with the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda splinter group in Syria which Assad has used as an excuse for brutal bombing campaigns.
The Peace Corps plans to announce major changes aiming to attract more volunteers as its applications plummet, leaving it at its lowest level of participation in more than a decade. One of the changes will be letting people pick the country where they will serve. The Peace Corps, started by then-president John F. Kennedy more than 50 years ago, sends thousands of volunteers to 65 countries for two-year service projects. Read more about the changes at The Washington Post. Harold Maass