According to incoming reports, on June 25 and 26 Washington intends to hold a Peace to Prosperity workshop in the capital of Bahrain, which could serve as a platform for announcing the economic part of the so-called “deal of the century” for the Middle East peace process. By all accounts the United States seeks to mobilise major financial resources, including from donors, for large-scale investment projects allegedly designed to improve the lives of Palestinians living in Palestine, as well as in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. The Palestinian leadership has already flatly refused to be part of this US-led project, saying that the Palestine Liberation Organisation will never give up on its exclusive right to decide on far-reaching matters related to fulfilling the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.

It is obvious that this is yet another attempt by the United States to shift the priorities on the regional agenda and impose the American vision of the Israeli-Palestinian settlement, following in the footsteps of the de facto failed forum in Warsaw. Persistent attempts to substitute the goal of achieving a comprehensive political settlement with a package of economic bonuses while undermining the principle of two states for two people are a matter of grave concern.

In this context, Russia reaffirms its principled position that it would be unacceptable to divert the Middle East peace process from the international legal framework, including as set forth in the corresponding UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, as well as the territory-for-peace principle approved at the 1991 Madrid Conference and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. Like never before, this challenging stage requires truly collective efforts to promote direct and durable Israeli-Palestinian talks instead of imposing momentary unilateral deals from the outside.