Jared Kushne

US begin Middle East peace plan to hold Bahrain economic conference

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The US will hold an international economic “workshop” in Bahrain in late June, aiming to promote investment in the Palestinian territories as the first part of Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, the White House said on Sunday.

The conference in Manama on 25 and 26 June will include government and business leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, a senior Trump administration official said.

Attendees will make an effort to help jump-start the economic part of the US peace initiative, which is expected to include proposals for resolving political issues at the heart of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However,  a second senior US official rejected to say whether Israeli and Palestinian officials would participate.

Trump has touted the plan as the “deal of the century” but Palestinian officials think the US effort will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.

In spite of deep skepticism among experts that Trump’s Middle East team can succeed where years of US-backed efforts have failed, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and regional envoy Jason Greenblatt appear intent on concentrating first on the potential economic benefits of peace.

“This will give hopefully the people in the region the potential to see what the economic opportunities could be if we can work out political issues that have held back the region for a long, long time,” the senior Trump official said.

US authorities had said the peace plan would be rolled out after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in early June. But the announcement of the Bahrain workshop seemed to set the stage for a sequenced release of the plan, beginning with the economic plan in late June and later the political proposals.

On Sunday the website Axios said a senior White House official guaranteed that plan.

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