Wednesday 15 September 2021 11:29:50
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet virtually Friday with his counterparts from Israel and three Arab states on the anniversary of the normalization of ties, the State Department said.
Blinken will meet the foreign ministers of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to "commemorate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and discuss ways to further deepen ties and build a more prosperous region," a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday.
The meeting -- and use of the term "Abraham Accords" -- marks a full embrace by President Joe Biden's administration over what predecessor Donald Trump's team considered a signature foreign policy success.
The United Arab Emirates, followed quickly by Bahrain and Morocco, became the first Arab states in decades to normalize relations with Israel, which earlier reached peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.
Notably absent from Friday's commemoration is Sudan, whose new civilian-backed government -- desperate for US support -- promised Trump to move forward with Israel but has since been hesitant in the face of public opposition.
Critics of the Trump approach said that normalization was no substitute for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, with the previous administration staunchly backing the Jewish state, including its right to annex land.
The Arab states' warming to Israel came after Trump promised state-of-the-art F-35 warplanes to the United Arab Emirates and broke longstanding US policy by recognizing Morocco's claims to Western Sahara.
Biden has not changed either decision, although his administration says it is attaching greater oversight on sales to the Emirati military.