Saudi FM: Trump plan could be beneficial, but only if Palestinians accept
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Saudi FM: Trump plan could be beneficial, but only if Palestinians accept

Adel Jubeir indicates Arab world would be hard pressed to endorse Kushner’s economic plan unless Ramallah goes along with it

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, is greeted by Saudi's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, center, in Riyadh on Sunday, January 13, 2019, during his Middle East tour. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, is greeted by Saudi's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, center, in Riyadh on Sunday, January 13, 2019, during his Middle East tour. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

A senior Saudi minister said Sunday that the newly released economic part of the Trump peace plan could be beneficial for the Palestinians, but only if they accept it.

“I think anything that improves the situation of the Palestinian people is something that should be welcomed,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir in an interview, according to the Reuters news agency. “Now having said that, the political process is extremely important.”

“The Palestinians are the ones who have the ultimate decision in this, because it’s their issue and so whatever the Palestinians accept I believe everybody else will accept,” he added.

The US government on Saturday unveiled the economic part of the peace plan it will present in Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the aim of raising more than $50 billion for the Palestinians and creating one million jobs within a decade.

However, the Palestinians have already rejected it, saying it does not address their aspirations for a state.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he was confident the conference this week in Bahrain would fail.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with journalists, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2019. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

“We are certain that the workshop in Manama will not be successful,” Abbas, who is boycotting the US-led conference focused on the Palestinian economy, told journalists.

“We will not be slaves or servants for Greenblatt, Kushner and Friedman,” Abbas told journalists at his presidential office in Ramallah, referring to US President Donald Trump’s negotiating team, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

“We need the economic (support), the money and the assistance, but before everything there is a political solution,” he said.

“For America to turn the whole cause from a political issue into an economic one, we cannot accept this.”

Abbas, 84, cut off ties with the US administration in December 2017, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he would hear out the Trump administration’s peace plan “fairly” and with “openness,” as he stressed that Israel would never relinquish its security presence in the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu also chided the Palestinians for preemptively rejecting the US proposal before its rollout, in his first comments since the US revealed the economic part of its plan a day earlier.

“I cannot understand how the Palestinians, before they even heard the plan, reject it outright,” Netanyahu said. “That’s not the way to proceed.”

Despite the official PA boycott, approximately 10 Palestinians from the business world will attend the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain later this week, according to an Israeli-American businessman, who said he will participate in the conference as an adviser to the delegation.

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