After slow start, Biden team finally, formally, warmly embraces Abraham Accords – but will Biden build on them?
Sec. Blinken holds video conference with Foreign Ministers from Israel, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco
The United States will continue to build upon the Abraham Accords, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during the administration’s most high-profile event so far surrounding the historic normalization agreements between Israel and a widening circle of Muslim nations.
“This administration will continue to build on the successful efforts of the last administration to keep normalization marching forward,” Blinken said during a one-year anniversary celebration of the Abraham Accords via video conference on Friday.
Blinken was joined by representatives from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.
The agreements, which normalized relations between these countries with Israel, were a major highlight of President Donald Trump’s presidency and were signed on Sept. 15, 2020 at the White House.
“We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy because it’s in the interests of countries around the region, and around the world, for Israel to be treated like any other country,” Blinken said. “Normalization leads to greater stability, more cooperation, mutual progress – all things the region and the world need very badly right now.”
Blinken praised the security, financial, technological and medical partnerships and newly opened borders between the countries including their mutual recognition of COVID vaccination passports. But he added that this progress must also be used “to make tangible improvements in the lives of Palestinians.”
Israelis and Palestinians “deserve … equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity and dignity,” he said.
The plan, under U.S. President Joe Biden, is to foster these existing ties with Israel, develop Israel’s relationship with Egypt and Jordan and to “encourage more countries to follow the lead” and join the Accords.
Lapid announced that he is going to become the first Israeli minister to go to Bahrain in an official capacity this month to open an Israeli embassy there and spoke about “Economy for Security,” a new initiative he has launched in Gaza to which he invited the other nations to join in.
“All challenges and all problems are global, and the same way we have dealt together with COVID 19, we’re going to deal with positive things as well, with creating an economy, with creating an atmosphere, with creating a new discourse in the region,” said Lapid.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, Bahraini Ambassador to the United States Abdulla Al Khalifa and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita also took part in the live call. No representatives from Sudan or Kosovo, both of whom also joined the Accords, joined the call.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who was also not on the call, issued a statement today thanking the U.S. for bringing the Accords to fruition and vowing to continue to “implement the agreements” under his leadership.
“These unprecedented agreements are a new chapter in the history of peace in the Middle East,” he said. “Relations between the countries are only at their beginning and are already bearing many fruit.”
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.