May 25, 2019

Qatar to attend the Bahrain conference

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Qatar informed the White House it will attend the conference in Bahrain on June 25 that will launch the economic part of the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, according to U.S. officials.

Why it matters: For the last 2 years Qatar has been under a blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The fact that the Qataris will attend the conference shows the U.S. managed to get a green light from the Saudis. This is a major achievement for the White House peace team led by Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is trying to get as many Arab countries to attend the conference, regardless of the Palestinians' decision to boycott.

Driving the news: Last night the Qatari foreign ministry issued a statement regarding the Bahrain conference stressing that...

"Qatar will spare no effort to contribute to addressing all the challenges facing the Arab region as a whole, while maintaining its firmed principled positions and the highest interests of the Arab peoples, including the brotherly Palestinian people."

The statement didn't mention the Qatari attendance in the conference, but according to U.S. officials, the Qataris told the White House they plan to show up.

  • The Qatari statement also stressed that economic prosperity will not be achieved without fair political solutions to the Palestinian issue "based on ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital".
  • The statement comes after Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already announced they will attend the conference. Palestinians have been lobbying many Arab and Western countries in the last several days stressing their objections to the Bahrain conference.

Qatari attendance is important because Qatar is the main donor of aid to the Palestinians in the Arab world. Just 2 weeks ago, the Qataris announced they will give the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank $300 million in addition to $180 million for humanitarian aid in Gaza.

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