Negev Forum parley takes place in UAE without Jordan
The meeting in the UAE will also pave the way for a Negev Forum foreign ministers' summit in Morocco, possibly as early as March
By News Desk - January 09 2023

(Photo credit: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Negev Forum member states held working group meetings in Abu Dhabi on Monday, 9 January, to advance regional projects with much effusiveness from participants. Jordan remained absent from the meeting, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.

“The convening of the Negev Forum working groups in the Emirates is a further step in advancing and deepening the Abraham Accords,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a message to the participants.

“Israel attaches great importance to cooperation with the countries of the forum in order to meet the challenges we face,” Cohen added.

Israeli officials from the Ministries of agriculture, health, defense, intelligence, tourism, energy, education, and economy, as well as the National Security Council and the Water Authority, made up the delegation, which was led by the Director General of the Foreign Ministry Alon Ushpiz.

“The working groups will draw up a list of projects in the fields of health, regional security, education and tolerance, water and food security, tourism, and energy,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Three of the four signatory nations of the Abraham Accord, with whom Israel reestablished relations in 2020, attended the first foreign ministers’ summit last march in the Negev. UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco were among them. Egypt, which signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, also joined the Negev Forum. Although Jordan has been invited to the forum and has had peace with Israel since 1994, it has not yet attended a meeting.

Meanwhile, on 6 November, the diplomatic advisor to Bahrain’s King Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifa said the kingdom would continue building its relationship with Israel after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies claimed the majority in the Knesset elections.

During Netanyahu’s government in 2020, Israel normalized ties with the UAE and Bahrain due to fears over Iran’s growing regional influence. The Trump administration mediated and encouraged negotiations in what became known as the Abraham accords.

In remarks to reporters, Al Khalifa said, “We have an agreement with Israel, which is part of the Abraham accords, and we will abide by this deal. We expect it to continue on the same path and build our partnership together.”

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