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UAE and Saudi Arabia back Trump's 'deal of the century' economic conference

While Palestinians have rejected upcoming summit in Bahrain, UAE insists it 'aims to lift the Palestinian people out of misery'
Gulf countries are expected to provide economic backing for Washington's 'deal of the century' (AFP/File photo)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have welcomed an upcoming economic summit in Bahrain where the Trump administration has said it will unveil the first part of its "deal of the century" to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a statement published by the UAE's state-run WAM news agency on Tuesday, the UAE said it would send a delegate to the upcoming conference in Manama on 25 and 26 June.

"The UAE supports all international efforts aimed at supporting economic progress and increasing opportunities in the region, and alleviating the suffering of people in the region, particularly our brothers in Palestine,'' the UAE's ministry of foreign affairs said.

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The conference, the ministry said in a statement, "aims to lift the Palestinian people out of misery and to enable them for a stable and prosperous future".

Later on Tuesday,  Saudi Arabia announced it would send Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed bin Mazid Al-Tuwaijri to the event. 

"The minister's participation in this event is a continuation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's firm positions supportive to the sisterly Palestinian people in a way that achieves their stability, growth, and good living, and achieves their hopes and aspirations and yields security, stability and prosperity for the region in general," the Saudi Press Agency said.

Palestinians have already said they would not attend the summit, which they said was organised without their input.

"There will be no Palestinian participation" at the meetings, said Ahhmed Majdalani, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on Monday.

"Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel," he said.

Dragged out unveiling

US President Donald Trump's top aides, including his son-in-law and Middle East policy adviser Jared Kushner, have for months dragged out the unveiling of the "deal of the century".

Over the weekend, the White House said the economic component of the plan would be rolled out during the conference in the Bahraini capital next month.

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Gulf countries' economic support - including expected pledges of funds to bolster the Palestinian economy - is expected to be a major element of the Trump administration's plan.

In recent years, several Gulf countries have pursued closer ties to Israel amid their shared animosity towards Iran, and Israeli leaders recently made public visits to Oman and the UAE.

But Palestinians have accused the Trump administration, which has fervently backed Israel since it came into office in early 2017, of seeking to use an endless negotiations process to help the Israeli government cement its control over the occupied Palestinian territories.

Trump recognised Israel's contentious claim to Jerusalem as its undivided capital and moved the US embassy to the city last year, a move that drew the ire of Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Earlier this year, Trump also recognised Israel's claim to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, a move that was widely decried as a brazen attempt to set aside international law.

Since Trump took office, the US has also cut funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees and shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, as it applies pressure on them to accept the "deal of the century".