The Latest: Negotiators optimistic on Trump Mideast bid

DEAD SEA, Jordan (AP) — The Latest developments at the World Economic Forum in Jordan (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

A pair of veteran Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, who endured repeated failures, expressed rare optimism about President Donald Trump's efforts to strike a Mideast peace deal.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat and former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke at the World Economic Forum's regional meeting Saturday.

Erekat told The Associated Press that he is encouraged by Trump's apparent determination. When asked about Trump's growing domestic difficulties, Erekat said he believes any deal on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel would win broad bipartisan support in the U.S.

Livni said in the session that Arab support for any deal is a "game changer" because it could sway Israeli public opinion. She says that in this context, Trump's meetings with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia this weekend are "very important."


8 a.m.

More than 1,100 politicians and business people have come together to find ways to transform stagnant economies of the troubled Middle East and North Africa.

The World Economic Forum's regional gathering is looking at how to encourage entrepreneurship and technological innovation to create private sector jobs in a region with 30 percent youth unemployment.

Central to the theme, organizers have invited the founders of 100 start-ups from the Arab world, including some from conflict-scarred countries such as Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Two days of sessions began Saturday. Some will look at the Middle East's civil wars and the fallout from a refugee crisis that has uprooted millions of people in the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Co-chairs include the German defense minister and the Norwegian foreign minister.