March 27-28, 2022  Negev Summit – Arab-Israeli Normalization Continues

Foreign Ministers at the Negev Summit, March 28, 2022, MFA, GPO

Four Arab Foreign Ministers (UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt) met with US Secretary of State Blinkin and Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid for two days at Kibbutz Sde Boker, the iconic home of Israel’s founding Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The cordial gathering took place 18 months after the signing of the September 2020 Abraham Accords, and two months before Israel and the UAE signed a free trade agreement at the end of May 2022. Regional security matters and bolstering bi-lateral relations topped discussions. Lapid announced that the summit would take place annually. When the steering committee of this conference met in Bahrain on June 27, 2022, chairs for six working groups (security, energy, tourism, health, education and food and water) were identified.  Regional working groups had been an outcome of the October 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, suggesting again that there were multi-lateral regional interests that crossed borders.  Media speculation grew in subsequent months about formalizing a future regional alliance system with these countries and perhaps others, tied together by the US.