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US to launch economic workshop as part of Middle East peace plan

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By Agence France-Presse

The United States will host a conference in Bahrain next month focused on the economic aspects of the Middle East peace plan promised by President Donald Trump, which aims to achieve Palestinian prosperity.

The workshop co-organized with Manama, running June 25-26, will bring together government, civil society and business leaders.

“This workshop is a pivotal opportunity… to share ideas, discuss strategies and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement,” the two countries said in a joint statement read Sunday.

The Trump administration is expected to unveil the long-awaited plan — after numerous failures by their predecessors — possibly as early as next month, but the Palestinians have already rejected it as heavily biased in favor of Israel.

Washington has yet to commit to an exact timetable as concerns the political aspects of the plan.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is the chief architect of the proposals.

Kushner said the Manama meeting would be an “opportunity to present our ideas for creating greater economic vibrancy in the region.”

“The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives,” he added.

“Economic progress can only be achieved with a solid economic vision and if the core political issues are resolved. We look forward to presenting our vision on ways to bridge the core political issues very soon.”

The US peace plan is expected to feature proposals for regional economic development that would include Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon but the Palestinians have been adamant that it will fail.

Kushner has promised new ideas for the plan, indicating that it will pull back from longstanding mentions of a two-state solution with the Palestinians and accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Having two states for Israelis and Palestinians has been for decades the US-backed goal in peace talks.

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