Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 - 4 of Heshvan, 5781

EU invited to the Bahrein economic workshop, first part of the US ‘deal of the century’

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BRUSSELS —The European Union has been invited to the Bahrain economic workshop, to be held  June 25-26, which is part of the so-called US ‘’deal of the century’’ aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the EU participation has yet to be confirmed as Europeans appear rather reluctant to endorse a plan – yet to be outlined- that appears to envision a different way than the longstanding EU two-state solution.  

The Bahrain workshop is the first part of the American peace proposal, developed by  White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and is expected to deal with revitalizing the Palestinian economy. The US administration wants to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanise support for potential economic investments and initiatives for the region if an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement were to be reached. Kushner has stated that the U.S. plan focuses on “how do we make life for Palestinians better?” and “how do we make Israel safer?”

The second part of the plan is expected to deal with the political issues surrounding the conflict, including geographic boundaries.

Kushner met earlier this month in Brussels with the EU leaders at his request to explain the US vision. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whom Kushner met along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, urged the United States to consider the “legitimate aspirations” of both Israel and the Palestinians in their Middle East peace plan.–

An EU spokesperson sait at the time that the two listened to Kushner’s “ideas and underlined the fundamental interest of the European Union for a lasting and sustainable peace and stability to the region.”

“The economic development of the whole region is crucial. It must be accompanied by viable political solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis and the agreed international parameters,” the EU said.

An indication of the level of EU participation in the Bahrain workshop might be given Monday in Luxembourg where EU Foreign Ministers are to meet and have a working lunch ‘’on developments in the Midde East’’ with Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi. Jordan as well as Egypt have announced their participation in the worshop.

According to Hugh Lovatt, from the European Council on Foreign Relations,  European governments are likely interested in attending the workshop in Bahrein out of a desire to either show support for their US and Gulf allies or find something positive and tangible in the US initiative  to engage on.”


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