MidEast

Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to Attend Bahrain Economic Conference

Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco are set to join Saudi Arabia and several Gulf States at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Bahrain on June 25-26, during which the United States is set to announce the economic aspects of its long-awaited peace plan.

A senior U.S. official confirmed Tuesday that the White House has been informed of the decision. “Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt have told us that they are attending,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The participation of Egypt and Jordan is considered especially important, since they are the only Arab nations to have made peace with Israel since 1967 and may pave the way for the Jewish State to send a delegation as well.

Israel has yet to receive a formal invitation, in part due to U.S. officials wanting to draw enough Arab participation before officially brining Israel in. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced in May that they would participate in the conference.

The workshop is aimed at boosting the Palestinian economy and is part of a broader diplomatic effort by the Trump administration to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, said earlier that the conference “serves no other purpose” than to help the Palestinian people “through developing their abilities and enhancing their resources.”

However, the Palestinian Authority (PA) immediately dismissed the initiative and said they would not participate in the conference. The Palestinian leadership has already declared the U.S. peace plan dead on arrival, without engaging in serious negotiations with U.S. officials.

Speaking at a ceremony in Ramallah last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that, “The Palestinian Authority does not recognize this conference.” The PA chairman went on to describe the U.S. peace initiative as a “disgrace” and predicted that “the economic project they are working on for next month will also go to hell.”

[Photo: Allan Donue / Flickr]