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US Ambassador to Israel says Bahrain moot important for Middle East’s peace plan

TEL AVIV: US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has said that the Bahrain conference will be significant for Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan.

Friedman said that the conference being jointly organized by US and Bahrain at Manama will highlight the economic aspects of Trump’s peace plan.

He said the moot is an important step towards achieving Washington’s Middle East peace plan in the region, despite Palestinians announcing they would boycott the meeting.

“[The Bahrain workshop] is an attempt to jumpstart the Palestinian economy. That’s the purpose and that’s the focus. To improve the quality of life of Palestinians,” Friedman told Al Jazeera.

The meeting, which will be held in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on June 25-26, has drawn criticism from the Palestinians. They said US President Donald Trump’s peace plan will be heavily in favour of Israel and quash their aspirations for statehood in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While the precise outlines of Washington’s draft plan – which he has branded the “deal of the century” –  have yet to be revealed, Palestinian and Arab sources who have been briefed about it say it has abandoned the two-state solution.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced to boycott the moot.

“There will be a significant showing from the Palestinian business community, and we will work with them as best we can,” said Friedman, adding that the PA’s absence was disappointing but not insurmountable.

“I don’t know that the Palestinian Authority is the last word on how to create a better life for the Palestinians. The Palestinians themselves should have a say in that,” he explained.