he United States’s work on a new Middle East peace plan is “fairly well advanced”, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday, though he provided no details on an initiative which comes amid deep Palestinian scepticism about U.S. intentions.
Tillerson, who was speaking during a visit to Jordan to sign a five-year $6.4 billion aid package that extends U.S. support to a key Arab ally, said President Donald Trump would decide when to announce the peace plan.
The United States infuriated even its Arab allies in December when Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and initiated the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not cooperate with the United States in its efforts as a mediator.
“I have seen the (administration’s peace) plan… It’s been under development for a number of months. I have consulted with them on the plan, identified areas that we feel need further work. I will say it’s fairly well advanced…” Tillerson said.
There has been little detail on the plan so far. Officials told Reuters in December it would deal with all major issues, including Jerusalem, borders, security, the future of Israeli settlements on occupied land and the fate of Palestinian refugees, and would also urge Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to provide significant financial support to the Palestinians.
The plan is being crafted by a team led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, both of whom have travelled to key regional capitals since the Trump administration came to office.
Palestinians have grown increasingly concerned that any plan Trump unveils will shortchange them, a fear exacerbated by his move on Jerusalem, which upended decades of U.S. policy that the status of the ancient city must be decided in negotiations.
Jerusalem is home to sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.