Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Bahrain and US to host economic peace conference for Palestine in June

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is helping organise the event and will attend the meeting

Palestinians break their fast by eating the Iftar meals during the holy month of Ramadan, near the rubble of a building recently destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City May 18, 2019. REUTERS
Palestinians break their fast by eating the Iftar meals during the holy month of Ramadan, near the rubble of a building recently destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City May 18, 2019. REUTERS

Bahrain will join the Trump administration to host an economic conference for Palestinians next month to attract investment and development funds if a peace agreement is reached with Israel.

A senior US official said on Sunday that invitations had been sent to countries, business and civil leaders for the conference, which will take place on June 25 and 26 in Manama.

The two-day conference, called “Peace to Prosperity”, will aim to bring in “economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement” between Palestine and Israel.

A statement by the US and Bahrain said the conference “will facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital and facilitation of rapid private-sector growth".

US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin is helping organise the event and will attend the conference.

“I look forward to these important discussions about a vision that will offer Palestinians exciting new opportunities to realise their full potential,” Mr Mnuchin said.

He said that leaders from the region would be asked to take part in the discussions.

A US official did not disclose the names of those invited to the event or whether the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli government would be attending. But he said European countries and business leaders would receive an invitation.

It is also unclear whether the conference is a substitute for releasing the political plan next month.

While the US official said the two went hand in hand, he did not specify when the long-awaited plan would be released.

US presidential adviser Jared Kushner announced last month that it would be released after Ramadan, in the first week of June, but tension in the West Bank and Gaza may force another delay.

“We are grateful to the kingdom of Bahrain for the invitation to host this workshop in partnership with them and provide us the opportunity to present our ideas for creating greater economic vibrancy in the region," Mr Kushner said on Sunday.

“The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives."

But Mr Kushner said that economic progress could only be achieved with “a sound economic vision and if the core political issues are solved”.

“We look forward to presenting our vision on ways to bridge the core political issues very soon," he said.

Updated: May 20, 2019 11:16 AM

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