Israel to attend US Mideast peace conference: minister

Trump is attempting to forge a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, a task at which all who have tried before him have failed. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 June 2019
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Israel to attend US Mideast peace conference: minister

  • The June 25 and 26 gathering will see the unveiling of the economic aspects of the US initiative
  • The Palestinians have already rejected the plan and they are boycotting the Bahrain workshop

JERUSALEM: Israel will attend an upcoming conference on the economic aspects of Washington’s peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Minister Israel Katz has said.
“Israel will be represented at the Bahrain economic workshop in a way that will be decided later on,” Katz wrote on Twitter late Sunday.
“Israel has the ability to contribute to the development of the region with technology, innovation and other ways,” he added.
Asked by AFP to elaborate, a foreign ministry official did not say whether Israel would be represented by government officials or business leaders.
The June 25 and 26 gathering will see the unveiling of the economic aspects of the US initiative spearheaded by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The idea is to woo the Palestinians with the economic benefits if they accept the United State’s political proposals, which will be detailed at a later date yet to be announced.
Trump’s Middle East envoy hinted Sunday that it would not be before November.
The Palestinians have already rejected the plan, which they believe will be partial to Israel, and they are boycotting the Bahrain workshop.
The White House said last week that Egypt, Morocco and Jordan have agreed to attend, but none of the three countries have yet confirmed their participation.
The United Nations announced it would send its deputy Middle East coordinator to the event.
Relations soured between Washington and the Palestinians after the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017.
Trump is attempting to forge a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, a task at which all who have tried before him have failed.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the plan may be considered unworkable, in comments to a private meeting of Jewish leaders leaked to US media.
“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me’,” The Washington Post reported, citing an audio recording of the meeting it had obtained.


Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

Updated 17 July 2019
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Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

  • “The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program"

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.
“The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
“The United States is spending between $500 and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain,” she said.
Used by NATO and other US allies, the F-35 stealth fighter jet is the world’s most advanced jet fighter. Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information of the stealth system.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.
Washington has long said the acquisition may lead to Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
The Pentagon had already laid out a plan to remove Turkey from the program, including halting any new training for Turkish pilots on the advanced aircraft.
“The situation with Turkey is a government-to-government matter and we’ll comply with any guidance issued by the United States Government,” said a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin Corp. , the prime contractor on the jet.