Negev Summit partners meet in Bahrain, agree to increase security and economic efforts
Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter
Senior diplomats from Israel, the US, and regional Arab allies wrap up their Negev Summit follow-up meeting in Bahrain, where they agree to increase efforts to improve security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.
The first meeting of the Negev Summit Steering Committee – consisting of Israel, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, and the US – is “especially important in light of US President Joe Biden’s expected visit in Israel and Saudi Arabia, and America’s commitments to widen the circle of peace,” reads the Foreign Ministry statement after the meeting.
Biden is slated to visit Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia on July 13-16.
The Bahraini Foreign Ministry does not immediately release a statement, nor do the other Arab participants.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz stress in their post-meeting statements that the participating countries see the Negev Forum as a key platform for cooperating on joint challenges in the region.
In Manama, the countries discuss how the six working groups set up during the summit — regional security, food and water security, energy, health, education and tolerance, and tourism — will operate.
Each of the six Negev summit countries will head one of the working groups, which will meet two or three times a year.
“These will become permanent frameworks for cooperation between us and countries in the region,” said Foreign Ministry official Oded Joseph yesterday.