US hedge fund tycoon pushes for Abraham Accords-style deals

Jeffrey Talpins’s charity backs peacemaking efforts of think tanks in the US, Israel and UAE

epa08671211 Flags of the United States, Bahrain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates during a signing ceremony of the 'Abraham Accords' on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 15 September 2020.  EPA/Chris Kleponis / POOL

New York hedge fund billionaire Jeffrey Talpins has backed a push for more Abraham Accords-style normalisation deals between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

The Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Monday announced a “major expansion” of its work on Middle East peace thanks to support from the Jeffrey M Talpins Foundation.

The project, known as the Abraham Dialogues, will advance co-operation between the Atlantic Council, the Emirates Policy Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Fred Kempe, chief executive of the Atlantic Council, said deals to normalise ties between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in the past year offered hope to a turbulent region.

“The Abraham Dialogues will deepen these agreements by promoting sustainable ties between the countries across sectors,” Mr Kempe said.

“The lasting personal relationships that emerge will help ensure a more peaceful, prosperous region.”

The plan aims to bring together Israeli and Arab “decision-makers and thought leaders” for private conversations aimed at providing new ideas for co-operation in the region.

The effort is led by former Pentagon official William Wechsler, former US State Department adviser Kirsten Fontenrose and Atlantic Council fellow Carmiel Arbit.

Oren Eisner, president of the Jeffrey M Talpins Foundation, said overcoming differences in the Middle East required “sustained, meaningful, multifaceted engagement”.

“This includes fostering deep personal ties among leaders,” Mr Eisner said.

“The Abraham Dialogues will help build the connections that will carry the parties into the future and help chart the course for a new Middle East.”

The foundation is the philanthropic vehicle for Mr Talpins, who runs the $17 billion hedge fund Element Capital Management.

The Atlantic Council together with Israeli and Emirati think tanks in February released a report on how US President Joe Biden should approach peacemaking in the Middle East.

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