Jordan, Egypt and Morocco to Attend Bahrain Conference, Says White House Official

King Abdullah reportedly says Jordan ‘should take part’ in talks so as not to ‘be left out of the room’

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Sissi and Jordan's King Abdullah II ahead of Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 1, 2019.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Sissi and Jordan's King Abdullah II ahead of Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 1, 2019. Credit: Amr Nabil,AP

Jordan, Egypt and Morocco will attend the U.S.-sponsored conference on investment in Palestinian areas in Bahrain in late June, a White House official said Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their regional rival Qatar have already told the Trump administration they will attend the June 25-26 workshop. Meanwhile, Russia is set to boycott the event, which will focus on investment in the Palestinian economy. However, it will not have any Palestinian representatives present due to the strained relations between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority.

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Jared Kushner and Moroccan King Mohammed VI (R) at the Royal Residence in Rabat, Morocco, May 29, 2019.Credit: AFP

The White House hailed the countries’ attendance as “welcome news,” calling it a sign “that our workshop is gathering momentum as we had anticipated.”

An Egyptian source told London-based, pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat that while Cairo has accepted the invitation to attend the conference in Bahrain, “That does not mean it will accept the peace plan.”

Earlier Tuesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah told Jordanian media that his country “should take part” in international conferences concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, naming the upcoming Bahrain summit “or other conferences,” so that Amman “wouldn't be left out of the room.”

Abdullah reportedly made the statement during a meeting with public figures, former ministers and journalists in Amman, but an official press release makes no mention of any references to the Bahrain conference.

Jordan “will not abandon Jerusalem,” Abduallah was quoted as saying, adding that his government is working in coordination with other Arab and foreign governments in order to reach agreed solutions to what he described as the Palestinian issue.

The Trump administration will release the economic chapter of the peace plan before the conference but not the political part, which deals with more sensitive aspects of the conflict.

The Palestinians hope Arab countries will support their position and reject the plan, which they believe will be one-sided and skewed in favor of Israel. The U.S. administration, meanwhile, hopes to convince as many Arab nations as possible to at least consider the plan as a basis for negotiations.

Jordan is a key player in this political and diplomatic battle for several reasons. Historically, it is responsible for safeguarding Islam’s holy sites in Jerusalem; it has a peace treaty with Israel; and a majority of its citizens are Palestinians.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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