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Iraq, Lebanon boycott Bahrain's 'suspicious' Deal of the Century summit in solidarity with Palestinians Open in fullscreen

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Iraq, Lebanon boycott Bahrain's 'suspicious' Deal of the Century summit in solidarity with Palestinians

The Palestinian cause is high on Baghdad and Beirut's agenda [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 June, 2019

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Iraq and Lebanon have pulled out of Manama's 'suspicious' Deal of the Century summit, saying they do not want to take part in compromising Palestine.

Iraq and Lebanon announced they will boycott Bahrain’s controversial Deal of the Century summit in solidarity with Palestine, with Iraqi officials branding the meeting as “suspicious”.

On Wednesday, Ahmad Sahhaf, the Iraqi government spokesman announced that Iraq will stay away from the Manama conference because the rights of Palestinians “must be protected”.

Iraqi parliamentarians backed the decision suspecting Gulf Arab states have dubious intentions for the summit, which Palestinians have themselves boycotted.

An unnamed senior Iraqi official said on Friday that Iraq refuses to participate in the summit because it “does not want to be a part of suspicious projects prepared in advance.”

The comment hints that the Manama conference may be a step towards normalisation with Israel – a move which a number of Gulf Arab states have already taken part in.

Iraqi MP Haneen al-Qaddo told The New Arab’s Arabic language service that he lodged an official notification announcing his boycott of the conference, warning the organisers that they, along with the United States, must not compromise the fate of a Palestinian state.

The MP added that the conference is on principle not taking into consideration the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan heights and the bordering conflicts with Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's foreign minister said the country would also stay away from the conference because the Palestinians were not participating.

Arabs endorsing Trump's deal

The Bahrain conference will take place on 25-26 June, against the will of Palestinians across the board.

It will focus on economic issues and is backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, despite a Palestinian boycott. Palestinians say they were not consulted about the conference.

The conference is part of US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" peace plan, the details of which have yet to be revealed in full.

The plan has been widely rejected by Palestinians because of Trump’s previous recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and expectations that the plan will recognise Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank.

Egypt and Jordan's participation at the Bahrain meeting is considered particularly important because they have historically been key players in Middle East peace efforts and are the only Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel.

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