Powell, close adviser on Mideast peace process, steps down

McMaster characterized Powell as “an invaluable member of President Trump’s team.”

December 10, 2017 22:33
2 minute read.
Powell, close adviser on Mideast peace process, steps down

US President Donald Trump, flanked by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell (L) poses for a picture with his National Security team to mark the 70th anniversary of the National Security Council, at the White House in Washington, US September 28, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)

WASHINGTON – A top White House adviser on national security, the Middle East and the administration’s effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is leaving her post.

Dina Powell worked closely with Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser leading the Middle East peace effort, and Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, on their strategy to launch a new peace diplomatic initiative in the region. She served as deputy national security adviser to H.R. McMaster.

She departs on good terms with the president, reportedly returning to New York for personal reasons. She is working with her colleagues to continue advising the president in an informal role from outside the West Wing.

Powell previously worked in the George W. Bush administration and was considered a moderating voice when she was brought onto Donald Trump’s team. She was a major player in planning Trump’s first foreign trip, which brought him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome.

Elliott Abrams, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations who came to know Powell during the latter, told The Jerusalem Post that she played a critical role in Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week.

“Dina will be missed both because she’s a wonderful colleague who listens, contributes, and strengthens any team she is on, and because she has real experience at high levels of government,” said Abrams, who has remained close with Powell for the past fifteen years. “She has added her intelligence, dedication, and knowledge to the “peace team” and has been a strong voice for the US-Israel alliance— including strongly pushing recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

While Greenblatt deals with the daily effort to put together US proposals for new peace talks, Powell was considered an integral part of the peace team, overseeing broad strategy with Kushner and frequently traveling with both of them to the region to meet with key players.

“Dina has done a great job for the administration and has been a valued member of the Israeli-Palestinian peace team,” Kushner said in a statement. “She will continue to play a key role in our peace efforts and we will share more details on that in the future.”

McMaster characterized Powell as “an invaluable member of President Trump’s team.”

“All of us look forward to continuing to work with her, as she continues to support this administration’s efforts on Middle East peace and other issues,” he added.

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