Trump Mideast advisor Dina Powell leaving White House

Washington (AFP) –


President Donald Trump's deputy national security advisor, Dina Powell, is leaving the post early next year, the White House said Friday.

The Egyptian-born Powell, a top advisor on Middle East policy and a fluent Arabic speaker, has been part of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner's effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The announcement of her departure comes just two days after Trump declared official US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a widely criticized move that has sparked protests in the region and fears of escalating violence.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Powell had always planned to serve one year before returning home to New York, and her departure was unconnected to the Jerusalem decision.

Kushner for his part said Powell would continue to play a central role in peace efforts, without elaborating.