The foreign ministers of Bahrain, the UAE, Morocco, and Egypt arrived yesterday in Israel for a landmark summit in the southern Negev Desert. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also participating with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid.
The meeting of foreign ministers is taking place less than a week after Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett travelled to the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh for the first-ever trilateral summit with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Lapid told journalists that the summit, which brings together the Arab countries that have relations with Israel, aims to discuss “advancing a regional security architecture.”
The Iran nuclear file is expected to be one of the main topics as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine but for the most part, analysts described the summit as a display of unity intended for Tehran. An Iranian nuclear deal with roughly the same terms as the 2015 Plan is viewed as a threat by Israel.
According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for the Middle East, Oded Yosef, the “security architecture” being discussed involves “joining forces with the important presence and commitment by the US to support it, including cooperation on every front imaginable, such as diplomatic - where there is a lot to do - and in international organizations, intelligence sharing, technology.
The logistics of the summit were full of details. The Israeli Kan public broadcaster reported that Israel raised its defence readiness in the south of the country amid concerns of aerial threats during the summit, with the Israeli Air Force putting several planes in the air as the diplomats were touching down at Nevatim Air Base.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, lived nearby the summit location along with his wife and they are both buried there. A tribute visit to the grave was speculated but not confirmed.
Source: commonspace.eu with The Times of Israel (Jerusalem), The Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem).
Picture: View from the meeting room during the Negev Summit; Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel.