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Jordan king hosts UAE, Egypt, Iraq leaders for ‘brotherly meeting’ on region

Sit-down comes on day Israel announces ‘historic summit’ with UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, US; Israeli report says ‘efforts made’ to include Amman, Cairo in possible front against Iran

Jordan's King Abdullah II listens during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman, Jordan, on May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Jordan's King Abdullah II listens during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman, Jordan, on May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II hosted leaders from Egypt, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates on Friday for talks, state media said.

The meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba was “consultative,” according to state television.

An official source requesting anonymity told AFP that the “consultative brotherly meeting dealt with recent international and regional developments.” The source did not elaborate.

A statement from the royal court said others in attendance included Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is slated to host Jordan’s King Abdullah II next week.

Sheikh Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the UAE, met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and el-Sissi in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh earlier this week.

The meeting came two days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to travel to Israel, the West Bank, Morocco, and Algeria.

Israel said it would host a “historic summit” from Sunday of top diplomats from the United States and three Arab states with which it has normalized ties — the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. Earlier in the week, Egypt hosted the Israeli and UAE leaders for unprecedented three-way talks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocks energy and food markets and major powers inch toward a revived Iran nuclear deal.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported Friday that “efforts were being made” to include Egyptian and Jordanian officials in the summit — states with which Israel has had peace agreements for decades. There were also conversations with Turkey, although Turkish officials were not expected at the upcoming meeting.

The Channel 12 report linked the upcoming Israeli summit to an effort to present a united regional front against Iran and its nuclear ambitions. The TV network’s Ben Caspit, a columnist and political analyst, said Israel has much to offer on the military technology front and summit participants could also address a possible initiative to set up regional anti-missile warning systems.

In Israel this upcoming week, Blinken plans to speak with officials about their efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. He will also update them on the status of talks aimed at reviving Iran’s nuclear deal. Efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian dialogue will also be on the agenda.

“The secretary will emphasize to all of the foreign leaders he meets that the United States stands in solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine in the face of the Kremlin’s aggression,” the State Department said Thursday.

Israel was strongly opposed to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and welcomed Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from it. Israel has warned against reviving the agreement and says it will not be bound by any new deal.

Israel has meanwhile walked a fine line between Russia and Ukraine since hostilities began last month. Bennett has expressed support for the Ukrainian people but stopped short of condemning Russia’s invasion, and in recent weeks has served as a mediator.

Israel regularly conducts airstrikes on what it says are hostile Iranian military targets in neighboring Syria. Such strikes must be coordinated with Russia, which intervened in Syria’s civil war in 2015 on the side of President Bashar Assad. Russia is also a party to the Iran talks.

Assad was in the UAE last week, marking his first visit to an Arab country since the Syrian uprising began in 2011. The UAE, a US ally and the driving force behind the Abraham Accords, has also sought to avoid angering Russia.

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