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NEGEV SUMMIT: Israel to host a 'historic diplomatic summit' today with US, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel for the two-day event as part of his visit to region, at the invitation of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

This article was updated on Mar. 27 at 8:55 a.m. Israel time.

Israel will host a high-level diplomatic summit on Sunday with representatives from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt in the Negev.

The two-day event – billed as the Negev Summit – will gather Arab leaders from four nations in Sde Boker at the Isrotel Kedma from Sunday afternoon. The diplomats will dine together at the hotel and hold bilateral working meetings on Monday.

The focus will be on regional threats. The Iran nuclear threat and the Russia-Ukraine war are expected to top the agenda.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Israel on Saturday night, will participate as part of his upcoming visit to four countries in the region.

"At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, this upcoming Sunday and Monday... a historic diplomatic summit will be held in Israel," read the statement on Friday.

Blinken will be joined by the UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain’s Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Morocco’s Nasser Bourita and Egypt's Sameh Shoukry. The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco normalized ties with Israel under the framework of the Abraham Accord agreements in 2020. 

“Congratulations to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the important and exciting achievement of foreign ministers summit,” Prime Minister Bennett wrote on Twitter.

He added a photo of the diplomats invited to summit along with the writing "welcome to Israel!" in both Hebrew and Arabic.

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz also praised Lapid on Friday for hosting the historic meeting.

“I congratulate Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on convening the important summit next week, featuring the foreign ministers of the countries we have signed normalization agreements with – the UAE, Morocco and Bahrain. Strengthening and deepening ties between the countries, along with our most important alley, the United States, is a strategic security and economic asset.” Gantz wrote on Twitter. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to meet with Secretary Blinken on Sunday. According to Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert, who held a call with reporters on Thursday, Blinken will affirm the commitment of the United States to a two-state solution, and to greater freedom, security, and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike. 

“He will also underscore the importance of the upcoming month when major religious holidays across faiths will be celebrated, and reiterate the importance of actions to build trust, and enhance stability and security, and the need to avoid steps that can inflame tensions on the ground,” said Lempert.

When asked if the secretary will discuss the re-opening of the U.S. Consulate to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Lampert replied: “That will certainly be a topic of discussion in his meetings in both Israel and the West Bank.”

The diplomatic summit comes shortly after Prime Minister Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Egypt's President Abdel el-Sisi and Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Mar. 22, 2022 (Photo: Egyptian Presidency)

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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