Israel, Arab States to Deepen ‘Negev Forum’ at Bahrain Confab
The director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, travelled to Bahrain Sunday ahead of meetings with representatives from four Arab states and the US, following an historic multilateral gathering held earlier this year in Israel’s Negev desert.
“Landed in Bahrain ahead of the Negev Summit steering committee meeting, aimed at changing things in our region,” Ushpiz tweeted Sunday.
In March, the Negev Summit convened the foreign ministers of the US, Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the UAE, a first since the signing of the US-backed Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states. The diplomats announced a new “regional architecture” to pursue shared goals, as well as to confront common threats like Iran.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that the Negev Summit’s Steering Committee would commence Monday in Manama.
At the summit, a permanent “Negev Forum” was conceived with six working groups, the ministry said Sunday, covering food and water security, energy, health, education and tolerance, tourism, and regional security. Monday’s meeting will advance the work of those groups, and also serve as a “milestone” in advance of US President Joe Biden’s planned tour of the region.
Biden’s trip is set for July 13-16, beginning in Israel and followed by stops in the West Bank and Saudi Arabia. The visit will partly focus on Israel’s developing ties with the Abraham Accords countries, as well as a new four-nation grouping called the I2U2, which will link Israel, the US, the UAE, and India.