Bahrain: Economic conference will help Palestinians

Bahrain says next month's peace conference is aimed at helping PA.

Elad Benari ,

Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa
Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa

Bahrain said on Tuesday that a peace conference it is co-hosting next month with the US is aimed at helping the Palestinians, who have criticized the Gulf kingdom for failing to consult them about the event.

The conference "serves no other purpose" than to help the Palestinian people "through developing their abilities and enhancing their resources", said Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, according to AFP.

The kingdom "remains supportive of the brotherly Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights on their land as well as establishing an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital", Al-Khalifa stressed in a statement.

Senior White House officials said on Sunday that the Trump administration is planning to release the economic component of its upcoming Middle East peace plan in late June, adding that it would break up the release of the much-anticipated plan.

The first half of the plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century” by President Donald Trump, will be released at an international summit in Manama on June 25 to 26. The US is playing down the summit, however, and is calling the event a "workshop".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced on Monday that it would boycott the economic conference, with its “information minister” Nabil Abu Rudeineh saying that the conference would be a meaningless meeting that was part of a meaningless plan.

"An economic agreement, with no political discussion on its side, will fail miserably, and we will not accept any proposal that does not include the basis for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," he declared.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), also rejected the Bahrain economic conference, saying no party was entitled to negotiate on the PA’s behalf.

"We were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama, Bahrain. We have not mandated any party to negotiate on our behalf," said Erekat.

The PA has boycotted the US administration since President Donald Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December of 2017.

The PA has also rejected the US peace plan before it has even been unveiled, claiming it is biased in Israel’s favor.