Palestinian chief negotiator urges Arabs to reconsider attending Bahrain workshop

Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s executive committee.

:: The secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, called on Arab states that have committed to attend the Bahrain economic “workshop” to revisit their decision.

In an interview with Arab News, Erekat praised Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the cause of Palestine. “In every important decision, Saudi Arabia stood with the people of Palestine,” Erekat said.

The chief Palestinian negotiator noted that all Arabs have made a commitment that they will accept whatever Palestinians accept. “We call on the countries that have agreed to attend the Bahrain workshop to reevaluate their decision,” he said.

Erekat noted that Saudi Arabia has been the most diligent country in supporting the Palestinian government. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia doesn’t miss its monthly support to the Palestinian government. Saudi Arabia doesn’t need an economic conference to financially support Palestinians,” he told Arab news.

Erekat spoke forcefully on this issue in an exclusive interview on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite TV.

The Palestinian position is that the US-backed economic workshop is aimed at circumventing Palestinian national aspirations. “We started with land for peace and now we are talking about prosperity for peace,” Erekat was quoted as saying by various Qatari owned media outlets.

Despite this, Qatar is confirmed to attend the Bahrain conference according to exclusive information obtained by Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

The US-Bahraini economic workshop is scheduled in Manama, Bahrain June 25 and 26.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have publicly declared that they will attend, along with the Bahraini hosts. Finance ministers from Arab and foreign countries have been invited. Palestinian officials and leading Palestinian business have said they will not attend.

The Trump peace team, headed by the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief Middle East advisor Jason Greenblatt, were expected to announce their joint political and economic plans after the holy month of Ramadan but the plan was replaced by an economic workshop in Bahrain.

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