Bahrain defends controversial 'Deal of the Century' summit
Bahrain said a peace conference it is co-hosting next month with the US is aimed at helping the Palestinians, who have criticised the Gulf kingdom for failing to consult them about the event.
The conference "serves no other purpose" than to help the Palestinian people "through developing their abilities and enhancing their resources", said Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa.
The kingdom "remains supportive of the brotherly Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights on their land as well as establishing an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital", Bahrain's top diplomat said in a statement.
The White House announced on Sunday it would co-host the June 25-26 conference with Bahrain, focusing on economic aspects of the long-delayed US peace plan, with the declared aim of achieving Palestinian prosperity.
"We were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama, Bahrain," Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said in a statement.
"We have not mandated any party to negotiate on our behalf."
Palestine has boycotted the US administration since President Donald Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.
They consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their future state and have shown little interest in the US peace plan, which they fear will be heavily biased in favour of Israel.
Dubbed "Peace for Prosperity", the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
Trump's office said the conference was a "pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanise support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement".
The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.
"Attempts at promoting an economic normalisation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected," Erekat said.
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