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Israel Axes Abraham Accords Conference after Concerned Arab Countries Decline Invite

Israel Axes Abraham Accords Conference after Concerned Arab Countries Decline Invite

Monday, 15 August, 2022 - 08:15
From left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House, Sept. 15, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images)

Israel canceled a conference to mark the two-year anniversary of its signing of the Abraham Accords to normalize ties with four Arab countries after their diplomats voiced concerns it could be exploited for political gains as Tel Aviv prepares to hold elections.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freige, whose ministry co-initiated the event with the United Arab Emirates, said he respects the decision.

He added that the government will cancel the conference since it is pointless to be held for Israelis alone.

“It is with great sadness that we are forced to postpone the conference marking the two-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords due to election exigencies, and in order to not drag our partners into the campaign,” Freige said, adding that the ministry is now working to hold an alternative summit after the elections.

The government began promoting the event, which was scheduled to be held on September 12, before the Knesset was dissolved.

It contacted the relevant countries, namely the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, with plans for the conference to be held at the level of foreign ministers.

Asharq Al-Awsat learned that the conference agenda would have tackled a number of civilian domains that could have helped expand and develop the Accords.

They included the possibility of opening a land commercial route through Israel (or from it) to the Gulf states by expanding and developing the infrastructure at the border crossings, such as the Sheikh Hussein Bridge on the Jordan River Crossing, and the main roads and converting them to international roads.

In addition, participants were going to discuss advancing the implementation of regional projects to resolve structural problems in the Gaza Strip, in partnership with Egypt, Israel and the Gulf states, as well as the energy food and water crisis caused by the war on Ukraine.

Opening of a Moroccan embassy in Israel in the presence of Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and expanding the agreements to include other Arab and Islamic countries were also on the agenda.

Freige said there were plans to deepen and expand initiatives in education and culture to support peace, confront extremism, and promote the values of tolerance, freedom of worship, and coexistence in the fields of art, sports, cinema and others.

“This is the basis of peace among peoples, not only between states and governments,” he stressed, noting that it is more important to develop personal relations between peoples since governments change but peoples remain.

The Accords were announced on August 13, 2020 under the term of then-US President Donald Trump, who said they were the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States.

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