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US to Unveil Economic Part of Peace Plan During Bahrain Workshop

US to Unveil Economic Part of Peace Plan During Bahrain Workshop

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 06:00
File photo: A general view of the morning sky over the White House in Washington. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Washington - Heba El Koudsy
The United States announced on Sunday that it will hold an international economic workshop in Bahrain next month to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza.

Dubbed the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop, the gathering will take place on June 25-26 in Manama, during which the administration of US President Donald Trump will unveil the first part of a proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a joint statement with Bahrain, the White House said the workshop will bring together government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.

A high-ranking US official said the workshop would focus on building a prosperous future “for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital, and facilitation of rapid private-sector growth.”

According to the official, Washington believes the workshop would benefit not only the West Bank and Gaza, but also eight countries in the region, including Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt.

However, the official refused to comment on the political aspect of the peace plan, saying it will be discussed later.

He said US officials spent up to 12 months studying economic experiences in states such as Japan and South Korea in the mid 1950s before coming up with a comprehensive economic plan that could enable the Palestinian people and neighboring states to achieve self-sufficiency in several areas, including infrastructure, industry, empowering and investing in people and reforming the government.

When asked about future threats caused by Israel’s attacks on infrastructures in Palestinian areas similar to previous assaults, the US official said: “We want the people of Gaza to know that several donor countries around the world are willing to come in and make investments and that there will be a great chance to improve the living conditions in the Strip.”

“This workshop will engage leaders from across the entire Middle East to promote economic growth and opportunity for the people in this important region,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

His Bahraini counterpart, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, said the workshop underscores the close strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States as well as the strong and shared interest in creating thriving economic opportunities that benefit the region.

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