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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Blinken to meet with Israel, three Arab states on normalization

Blinken will meet virtually Friday with the foreign ministers of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco to "commemorate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords

AFP , Tuesday 14 Sep 2021
UAE Israel Abraham Accords.  AFP
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet virtually Friday with his counterparts from Israel and three Arab states on the anniversary of the normalization of ties, the State Department said. File photo AFP
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet virtually Friday with his counterparts from Israel and three Arab states on the anniversary of the normalization of ties, the State Department said.

Blinken will meet the foreign ministers of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to "commemorate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and discuss ways to further deepen ties and build a more prosperous region," a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday.

The meeting -- and use of the term "Abraham Accords" -- marks a full embrace by President Joe Biden's administration over what predecessor Donald Trump's team considered a signature foreign policy success.

The United Arab Emirates, followed quickly by Bahrain and Morocco, became the first Arab states in decades to normalize relations with Israel, which earlier reached peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

Notably absent from Friday's commemoration is Sudan, whose new civilian-backed government -- desperate for US support -- promised Trump to move forward with Israel but has since been hesitant in the face of public opposition.

Critics of the Trump approach said that normalization was no substitute for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, with the previous administration staunchly backing Israel, including its right to annex land.

The Arab states' warming to Israel came after Trump promised state-of-the-art F-35 warplanes to the United Arab Emirates and broke longstanding US policy by recognizing Morocco's claims to Western Sahara.

Biden has not changed either decision, although his administration says it is attaching greater oversight on sales to the Emirati military.

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