Mar 25, 2022 - World

Israel to host Blinken and top Arab diplomats for "historic summit"

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Riga, Latvia on March 7, 2022.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Riga, Latvia, on March 7, 2022. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Israel on Friday said it will host the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates for an unprecedented two-day meeting with Secretary of State Tony Blinken during his upcoming visit to the country.

Why it matters: The meeting, which Israel's foreign ministry called a "historic diplomatic summit," will be the first time the foreign ministers sit together, and the first visit to Israel by an Emirati foreign minister.

Flashback: Between August and December 2020, Israel signed peace and normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco as part of the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration.

Behind the scenes: Work on the upcoming meeting started last week after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned from an Egypt-UAE-Israel leaders summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, a senior Israeli official said.

  • Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wanted to use Blinken’s visit to the region and take advantage of the momentum from Shram el-Sheikh to organize a follow-up event, which will be even broader, the official added.
  • The event will take place on Sunday and Monday in southern Israel.

What to watch: From Israel, Blinken is expected to travel to Morocco for bilateral meetings. While there, he will also meet with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed, the State Department said.

  • The meeting with bin Zayed comes amid tensions between the U.S. and UAE over Yemen and Ukraine.
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