Israel to host top Arab diplomats during Blinken’s visit

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JERUSALEM: Israel said Friday it would host the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit early next week, in what would be the latest in a flurry of high-level meetings held across the Middle East.
The three Arab countries normalized relations with Israel in 2020 in the so-called Abraham Accords. The Biden administration welcomed those agreements, which were concluded under then-President Donald Trump, and has expressed interest in negotiating additional ones.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it would host the four top diplomats on Sunday and Monday, with additional details to be provided later.
In a separate development, Jordanian state media said King Abdullah II would host Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince and de facto ruler of the Emirates, in the southern Jordanian city of Aqaba on Friday.
The crown prince met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and el-Sissi in Egypt earlier this week.
Blinken will visit Israel, the occupied West Bank, Morocco and Algeria starting this weekend, as U.S. diplomacy faces serious tests related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as Middle Eastern regional issues.
In Israel, Blinken plans to speak with Israeli officials about their efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. He will also update them on the status of talks aimed at reviving Iran’s nuclear deal. Efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian dialogue will also be on the agenda.
“The secretary will emphasize to all of the foreign leaders he meets that the United States stands in solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine in the face of the Kremlin’s aggression,” the State Department said Thursday.
—Agencies