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Iraq, Lebanon Will Not Attend Bahrain Conference on Palestinian Economy
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Iraq, ALRAY -- Lebanon and Iraq will not participate in this month’s conference in Bahrain set to tackle the Palestinian economy as part of the United States’ yet to be unveiled “deal of the century” peace plan.


An Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman said his government will stay away from the conference expected to take place on June 25 -26.



The White House said it will reveal the first phase of its peace plan at the conference, saying it will focus on economic benefits that could be reaped if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.



Palestinian officials have said the plan ignores the Palestinian people's aspirations for an independent state.

Ahmad Sahhaf, the Iraqi spokesman, told The Associated Press Wednesday that the rights of the Palestinian people "must be protected."



His comments came a day after Lebanon's Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said the country would also stay away from the conference because the Palestinians were not participating.



He said Beirut would not attend because “the Palestinians will not participate, and we prefer to have a clear idea of the proposed peace plan, as we have not been consulted or informed about it.”



Meanwhile, Palestinians urged Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday to reconsider their attendance of the Bahrain meeting.



“The Palestinian Authority urges Egypt and Jordan not to attend the Bahrain conference,” Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government said on Facebook after US officials announced the two nations, along with Morocco, would attend.



Melhem urged “all brotherly and friendly countries to withdraw”, adding that participation “would carry wrong messages about the unity of the Arab position” on rejecting Trump’s plan.



While the precise outlines of the draft plan have yet to be revealed, Palestinian and Arab sources who have been briefed about it say it has jettisoned the two-state solution. The plan faces possible delays due to political upheaval in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must fight another election after failing to form a government.



US officials have said they are inviting economic and finance ministers, as well as business leaders from the region and around the world to Bahrain to discuss investment in the Palestinian territories.



The United Nations announced Wednesday that it is sending its deputy Middle East coordinator to attend the conference.



Jamie McGoldrick, who is also the UN's humanitarian coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, will travel to Bahrain, said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.


Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

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