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Donald Trump Says Jared Kushner Will Be Middle East Peace Broker

President-elect Donald Trump said that he would appoint Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal, The Times of London newspaper reported Sunday.

Trump also urged Britain to veto any new UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel and repeated his criticism of President Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump officially announced last week that Kushner, 35, will serve as an adviser in his White House, an appointment that could face legal difficulties, since anti-nepotism laws in the U.S. specifically forbid government officials to promote or appoint their own sons-in-law within the government agencies they work for. Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is considered one of the closest people to the president-elect and played a major role in his election victory. 

Trump did not provide specific details last week regarding what Kushner’s exact fields of responsibility in the administration would be, but his statement in the Times interview fits with a number of past remarks in which he mentioned his son-in-law, an Orthodox Jew, as his possible envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He made one such reference in a briefing to the editorial board of the New York Times. 

Kushner, however, is not the only appointee who seems to enjoy Trump’s trust on this issue. Last month Trump announced that Jason Greenblatt, a New York-based attorney who served as his adviser on Israel during the presidential campaign, will also deal with negotiations in the Middle East, in his capacity as a special adviser on international agreements. Greenblatt has worked for Trump’s companies for decades. It remains to be seen how exactly he and Kushner will divide the peace-brokering responsibilities. 

In his interview with the Times, Trump also urged the U.K. to veto any new UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel, and called the nuclear deal with Iran “one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen.”

In an interview with The Times, Trump also said he will offer to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers — the United States and Russia — to be “reduced very substantially.”

“They have sanctions on Russia – let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it,” Trump was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Trump also criticized Russia for its intervention in the Syrian civil war, describing it as “a very bad thing” that had led to a “terrible humanitarian situation,” The Times said.

He praised Queen Elizabeth and said he was eager to get a trade deal done with the United Kingdom.

“We’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides,” Trump said. “I will be meeting with [British Prime Minister Theresa May]. She’s requesting a meeting and we’ll have a meeting right after I get into the White House and it’ll be, I think we’re gonna get something done very quickly.”

Trump said he thought that “Brexit is going to end up being a great thing” and welcomed the fall in the value of the pound for having helped to boost the attractiveness of British products abroad, The Times said.—With Haaretz

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