'Abraham Accords' diplomats to gather in Bahrain following Israel meeting

'Abraham Accords' diplomats to gather in Bahrain following Israel meeting
2 min read
The talks in the Bahraini capital Manama will bring together foreign ministry officials from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrai, Morocco, and Egypt.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met counterparts from Israel and Arab countries in the Naqab Desert in March [JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Diplomats from the United States, Israel and four Arab countries will convene in Bahrain on Monday, Israeli officials said, three months after they vowed to boost cooperation at a meeting in Israel.

The meeting was held in March in the Sde Boker kibbutz in the Naqab (or Negev) desert, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken joining his counterparts from Israel, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, and Morocco.

The talks in the Bahraini capital Manama will bring together foreign ministry officials from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco - which all normalised ties with Israel in 2020 -- and from Egypt, which made peace with Israel in 1979.

The UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords, brokered by former US president Donald Trump. Morocco then re-established relations with Israel under a separate Trump-brokered agreement.

Palestinians saw the Abraham Accords as a betrayal of their cause, pointing out that they rewarded Israel as it continued to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip and regularly violate Palestinian human rights.  

Perspectives

Washington has said it wanted the meeting to be annual and to include the Palestinian Authority and Jordan -- another Arab nation that recognises Israel, but which has increasingly criticised Israel over its violent suppression of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Blinken has voiced strong support for the Abraham Accords but cautioned at the Negev meeting that they cannot replace Israeli-Palestinian peace-building.

The meetings aim to deepen cooperation on areas including water, tourism, health, energy, food security and on regional security.

Israel has also found common cause with Gulf Arab states in their tense relationship with Iran.

Monday's "meeting will also serve as a milestone ahead of the US president's expected visit to the Middle East", the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.

President Joe Biden will travel to Israel, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia from July 13 to 16 - his first trip to the Middle East since taking office.

Once there, he will attend a Gulf Cooperation Council summit with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, joined by the leaders of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, a US official said.