US to hold Bahrain economic conference to launch Middle East peace plan


The US will hold an international economic “workshop” in Bahrain in late June, seeking to encourage investment in the Palestinian territories as the first part of Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, the White House said on Sunday.

The conference in Manama on 25 and 26 June will bring together government and business leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, a senior Trump administration official said.

Attendees will an attempt to help jump-start the economic portion of the US peace initiative, which is expected to include proposals for resolving political issues at the heart of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, a second senior US official declined to say whether Israeli and Palestinian officials would take part.

Trump has touted the plan as the “deal of the century” but Palestinian officials believe the US effort will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.

Despite deep skepticism among experts that Trump’s Middle East team can succeed where decades of US-backed efforts have failed, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and regional envoy Jason Greenblatt appear intent on focusing first on the potential economic benefits of peace.