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Thursday, 27 June 2019

The US-led Mideast economic in Bahrain finished yesterday — and it could be back to the drawing board

The US-led Mideast economic conference in Bahrain finished yesterday — and it could be back to the drawing board. Trump’s USD 50 bn Mideast economic plan failed to gather much political support during this week’s Bahrain conference, as the Gulf states and the IMF warned that a political solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict must be found before any investment program can be launched, Reuters reports. Saudi Arabia and UAE approved of the plan in principle but urged the US to work harder on finding a political agreement while Lagarde said that political stability is an “essential prerequisite.”

It was a no-show from the private sector: The US invited more than 1,000 business leaders to attend the event, but “only a fraction” actually turned up, Bloomberg says.

Mnuchin signals that changes are coming: US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said yesterday that the US is open to changing the plan in order to build more political support.

And the money? Mnuchin said that he would collect USD 4 bn during the conference. But as for the other USD 44 bn, that is still TBD.

Egypt is remaining tight-lipped: The Egyptian government, which sent a delegation to the conference but not a minister to lead it, is yet to issue a statement. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said earlier this week that the government would carefully consider the proposals before forming an opinion.

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