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Top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urges global rejection of US-led Bahrain summit Open in fullscreen

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Top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urges global rejection of US-led Bahrain summit

Palestinian officials have declared they will not attend the event. [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 May, 2019

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Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Saturday called for a global rejection of next month's US-led economic peace conference in Bahrain.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Saturday called for a global rejection of next month's US-led economic peace conference in Bahrain.

The White House announced last week it would co-host the June 25-26 conference in Manama focusing on economic aspects of President Donald Trump's long-delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, with the declared aim of achieving Palestinian prosperity.

Palestinian officials have said they were not informed about the event and have officially declared they will not attend.

"Palestine will not attend the Manama meeting," a statement on the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) website said this week.

"This is a collective Palestinian position, from President Mahmud Abbas and the PLO Executive Committee to all Palestinian political movements and factions, national figures, private sector and civil society."

Erekat, a top Palestinian Authority negotiator and senior PLO official, on Saturday urged "all countries" to snub the event.

"The conference will surely fail without Palestinian participation," Erekat said, according to The Times of Israel.

Arab countries were only participating because they were beholden to the US, Erekat said, calling on them not to align with Trump's administration "at the expense of the Palestinian people".

The Trump administration is "a cornerstone of the extreme right-wing Israeli ideology," Erekat added, saying that the US was "sowing fear in the region," The Times of Israel reported.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already announced that they will send senior ministers to the conference, despite the Palestinian call for a boycott.

The conference is likely to call for billions of dollars in financial backing for Palestinians from oil-rich Gulf states, people close to discussions say.

But it will not address the most contentious parts of the conflict such as borders, the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and settlements.

The only Palestinian businessman who has said he might attend the summit is Ashraf Jabari, a Hebron industrialist with close ties to Israeli settlers and Trump officials.

The Palestinians severed ties with the White House after Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 and subsequently moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The US has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid for the Palestinians and closed the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington.

The Palestinians have already said they would reject any peace plan offered by the US, saying Trump is unfairly biased toward Israel.

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