Global financial institutions will attend a US-led conference on the Palestinian economy this month that the Trump administration has cast as an overture to its Middle East peace plan, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday, reports Reuters.
The efficacy of the June 25-26 meeting in Bahrain has been in doubt since Palestinian leaders and businesspeople decided to shun it over Washington's perceived pro-Israel bias and inattention to their political demands.
Israel's new election, an upsurge in cross-border fighting and the Palestinians' resentment at US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital add to the complicated backdrop.
However, the IMF, which has been operating in the West Bank and Gaza since 1995, confirmed it and other global financial bodies would be present in Bahrain's capital Manama.
"The IMF has been invited to the meeting and expects to attend, along with other international financial institutions," a representative said, without naming the other bodies.
The IMF and other lenders and development banks have long played a stabilising role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, providing loans, credit guarantees, and policy advice to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) confirmed it would have "someone" representing it. The World Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner this week concluded a trip to the Middle East and Europe aimed partly at drumming up support for the "Peace for Prosperity" conference intended to unveil the economic part of Trump's long-heralded peace plan.
But Palestinian and Arab officials suspect the event may be a prelude to a US push to jettison the "two-state" solution – a long-standing, international formula for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The so-called 'deal of the century' will, God willing, never come to fruition …We hope that Bahraini and Saudi rulers will realise that they are stepping into a quagmire.