The preparatory meetings for the Negev Forum taking place in Abu Dhabi focused on the creation of 6 working groups to prepare for the next meeting scheduled in Morocco. The United States played a central role in determining roadmaps.
On January 9 and 10, nearly 150 senior representatives from various signatory countries to the Abraham Accords met in the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the Negev Forum to be held in Morocco, a summit created on the occasion of the Negev Summit in Israel following the peace agreements between Israel and several Arab countries.
The United States, whose representatives facilitated the discussions, sent a large delegation on behalf of 8 American government agencies.
“We have just concluded 2 days of very productive meetings and discussions here in Abu Dhabi within the framework of the working groups of the Negev Forum, with many senior representatives of the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates,” said Derek Chollet, Senior Advisor to the Chief of the American Diplomacy, at the United States Department of State, during a telephone press conference in which MoroccoLatestNews took part.
The American diplomat explained that these talks are the biggest meeting between Israel and Arab countries since the Madrid summit in 1991. “We believe that this is another critical step in advancing the process of Negev forum,” he said.
“Today’s meeting is a direct follow-up to the first Negev summit in 2022 in Israel,” he added, explaining that 6 working groups have been created and during the last two days discussions have been focused on themes related to regional security, water security, clean energy, health, tourism, and education.
These working groups arising from the Negev Forum, aim to achieve the ultimate goal of coordinating initiatives that promote regional integration, cooperation and development for all people from the region, assured the diplomat.
During the first meeting on Monday, a work plan was set up with the aim of bringing these meetings to fruition and ensuring that “the working groups meet regularly throughout the year and at the ministerial level, hopefully soon”.
The representatives of the various countries were also instructed to develop clear, concrete and pragmatic measures that will both serve integration and contribute to ensuring security, peace and economic prosperity throughout the region with projects that correspond to the needs of the region.
For each working group, and in addition to the work plan, projects have been validated, it was said during the press conference, while studies for other projects are to be done.
Regarding the Palestinians, “we are focused on strengthening the Palestinian economy and improving the quality of life of the Palestinians”, said the American diplomat, stressing that the Abraham Accords are not a substitute for an agreement peace between Israel and Palestine.
“As far as the Palestinians are concerned, we have been very clear in the Biden administration where we fully support and we work tirelessly to support the normalization of relations between Arab-Muslim countries and Israel and these Abraham Accords are not a substitute,” Chollet noted.
Normalization between the Arab states and Israel should be a lever to advance progress in the idea of creating a peace dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians that allows the creation of two states, he explained.