In Brief: Israel and Arab allies agree to tighten cooperation

Negev summit > AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

Senior diplomats from Israel, the US and regional Arab allies agreed to increase efforts to improve security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East during a follow up meeting to the Negev Summit in Bahrain on Monday.

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 to Israel and Saudi Arabia, and America’s commitments to widen the circle of peace”, Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Biden is slated to visit Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia between 13-16 July.

“It was an important milestone”, an Israeli diplomatic official said to the Times of Israel on Monday.

The meeting is intended to tun the March Negev Summit in Israel into a permanent forum for regional cooperation.

A major Israeli achievement was having the name Negev Forum formalised, the first time a major multilateral initiative was named after a place in the Jewish state.

In Bahrain, the six countries created a core document that lays out the goals of the forum, what each working group will deal with, and who will lead them.

Working groups were also established to address food, water security, and tourism.