US sending team to the UAE for Negev Forum meetings

The forum aims to promote a more integrated and prosperous region

Senior US diplomat Yael Lempert at a Negev Forum meeting in Bahrain last year. She will be among the US figures travelling to the Emirates for meetings this week. AFP
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The US has announced that it is sending a senior delegation to the UAE for the first meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups on Monday and Tuesday.

They will meet representatives from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and the UAE to push regional integration and co-operation.

The aim of the Negev Forum is to forge stronger ties between Israel and regional states with which it has signed peace agreements.

The US delegation will include foreign policy adviser, Derek Chollet, senior official for public diplomacy and public affairs, Liz Allen, and arms control expert, Mallory Stewart.

A USAID Middle East expert, Andrew Plitt, the Rome ambassador to the UN's food and agriculture agencies, Cindy McCain, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Yael Lempert, join the US delegation.

USAID water expert, Maura Barry, Middle East expert, Dana Stroul, energy expert, Laura Lochman, and infectious diseases expert, Dr Jay Butler, complete the team.

Six working groups will focus on the priorities established at the March 2022 Negev Summit: food security and water technology; clean energy; tourism; health; education and coexistence; and regional security.

The aim is to promote a more integrated and prosperous Middle East and North Africa by demonstrating what can be accomplished by working together.

This framework for regional co-operation also aims to strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people, the State Department said.

Experts saw a meeting in Manama last year as a successful benchmark for the Abraham Accords and said the forum could expand to include countries such as Jordan or Sudan in the future.

Updated: January 08, 2023, 10:07 AM