US loses ME mediator role
Trump ‘to sanction’ China over Uighur Muslims crackdown
WASHINGTON, Sept 12: Twenty-five years ago, then US president Bill Clinton looked on as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn, sealing the Oslo accords.
And in 1979, Jimmy Carter hosted the leaders of Israel and Egypt at Camp David -- another indelible moment in diplomatic history.
Donald Trump can only dream of such a scene unfolding on his watch.
Under the Republican leader, the United States is further away than ever from playing its traditional role as mediator in the long-simmering Middle East peace process.
Trump, a foreign policy novice, promised upon taking office to help broker the "ultimate deal" between Israel and the Palestinians.
He tasked his son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner with leading a small group to make that happen. But that task force was seen as too close to Israel, and inexperienced in the world of high-stakes diplomacy.
Meanwhile, the US State Department on Tuesday expressed deep concern over China's "worsening crackdown" on minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region, as the Trump administration considered sanctions against Chinese senior officials and companies linked to allegations of human rights abuses.
Discussions have gained momentum within the U.S. government over possible economic penalties in response to reports of mass detentions of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims, which has prompted a growing international outcry, U.S. congressional sources said. -AFP, REUTERS