Monday, 20 May 2019 08:00

US, Bahrain to Host Palestinian Economic Conference

Bahrain and the U.S. said Sunday they are hosting a "Peace to Prosperity" conference in late June to promote better economic fortunes for Palestinians if a peace agreement can be reached with Israel.

The White House has pledged to unveil a new Mideast peace plan in the coming weeks, one partly crafted by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-law and a White House adviser.

Israel and the Palestinians have failed for decades to reach a peace accord, but the U.S. plans to showcase the economic component of the new peace plan at the economic conference in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on June 25-26.

A senior White House official said Sunday the plan calls for substantial investments in the Gaza economy, but that investments there will require a “stable” cease-fire agreement to remain in place.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity, the world is willing to step up and work on this,” the official said. “But that only happens if we can resolve some of the political issues. The two things go hand in hand. There is a real future that can be very exciting, but we have to work on these hard issues.”

Government, civil society and business leaders at the conference are expected to discuss potential economic investments in the region if a peace agreement is achieved.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the conference would "offer Palestinians exciting new opportunities to realize their full potential."

Bahrain Finance Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa al Khalifa said the conference underscored close ties with the U.S. and the two countries' "strong and shared interest in creating thriving economic opportunities that benefit the region."

(VOA)

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