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Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to attend US-led conference in Bahrain

The June 25-26 US-led conference will be held in Manama, Bahrain [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 11 June, 2019

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The Palestinians will boycott the conference planned for 25 and 26 June in Bahrain.
Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will attend a US-led conference in Bahrain in which the Trump administration plans to unveil the economic aspects of its long-awaited peace plan, a White House official said on Tuesday.

The Palestinians will boycott the conference and have already rejected the deal, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump they say show his administration is irredeemably biased on the side of the Israelis.

But Morocco, Egypt and Jordan - of which the latter two are seen as key players in the peace process - have informed the Trump administration they will be in attendance at the conference planned for late June, Reuters reported.

Washington is gearing up to roll out the economic aspects of its plan at the 25 and 26 June conference, but it is not yet clear when its political details will be unveiled.

Public comments made by administration officials so far suggest the plan will lean heavily on substantial financial support for the Palestinian economy, much of it funded by the Gulf Arab states, in return for concessions on territory and statehood.

Publication of the plan looks set to be further delayed after the Israeli parliament called a snap general election for September, the second this year. The plan is regarded as too sensitive to release during the campaign.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a visit to Morocco over the weekend, criticised the still-secret Middle East peace plan, calling it "an approach that cannot grant serenity".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the plan - spearheaded by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner - will be considered "unworkable," and might not gain traction.

Pompeo's remarks to a private meeting of Jewish leaders, first reported by The Washington Post, show that even the plan's own backers expect the latest US blueprint for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be met with deep scepticism.

Another key broker in the peace process, the United Nations, says it will stay away from the Bahrain meeting.

The relationship between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump administration has been strained since the president made a number of controversial decisions.

These include recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cutting hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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