- Title: Blinken: U.S. will help foster further Israeli ties with Arab states
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES AND UNKNOWN LOCATIONS (SEPTEMBER 17, 2021) (STATE TV) (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "This Administration will continue to build on the successful efforts of the last Administration to keep normalization marching forward." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy because it is in the interest of country's across the region and around the world for Israel to be treated like any other country." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "And we all must build on these relationships and growing normalization to make tangible improvements in the lives of Palestinians. And to make progress n the long-standing goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity and dignity." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "Today, a year after the accords and normalization agreements were signed, the benefits continue to grow. We're seeing deepening diplomatic relationships. It's been a year of firsts. The first Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, the first embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Tel Aviv. This month, Israel named its first ambassador to Bahrain and earlier this week, Bahrain's first ambassador to Israel presented his credentials. Minister Lapid, your visit to Morocco last month to meet with Minister Bouritta and others was the first by an Israeli minister to the Kingdom since 2003." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "There is a hunger to learn about each other's cultures, to see new sights, to try new foods, forge new friendships, all experiences that have been impossible for so long and for so many. And now they're making up for lost time." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER YAIR LAPID, SAYING: "And we have to also mention the fact that this Abraham Accord's club is open for new members as well. And one of our goals are common goals is to make sure that other countries will follow suit and join us in these accords and in this new era of cooperation and friendship." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER YAIR LAPID, SAYING: "This is an optimistic event, and it was created by optimistic people for a better future and and I couldn't be happier than doing this on the first 42 anniversary of the Camp David agreements. "
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 17:16
- Keywords: Abraham Accords Bahrain Biden Blinken Israel Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid Morocco Trump United Arab Emirates
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C. AND UNKNOWN LOCATIONS
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C. AND UNKNOWN LOCATIONS
- Country: US
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EV3ZDXJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged on Friday (September 17) to encourage more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel as he hosted a virtual meeting with Israeli and Arab counterparts to mark the first anniversary of a set of landmark diplomatic agreements.
The event - held with Blinken's counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco - was the Biden administration's highest-profile embrace of the so-called Abraham Accords, which were widely seen as a diplomatic success for Republican former President Donald Trump.
Democratic President Joe Biden has backed the deals since taking office in January, and senior aides have said they want more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel after decades of enmity. But the administration until now had been cool to the idea of commemorating the anniversary of the accords.
On Friday, however, Blinken hailed their diplomatic and economic benefits, saying: "This administration will continue to build on the successful efforts of the last administration to keep normalization marching forward."
He said the Biden administration would help foster Israel's growing ties with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco - as well as Sudan, which also reached a breakthrough with Israel last year - and would work to deepen Israel's relationships with Egypt and Jordan, which have long-standing peace deals.
And Blinken said Washington would encourage more countries to follow their lead. "We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy," he said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed, saying: "This Abraham Accords club is open to new members as well."
The leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the accords at the White House last September. Israel and Sudan announced in the following month that they would normalize relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December, after Biden defeated Trump in the U.S. election.
Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state.
Some critics said Trump had promoted Arab rapprochement with Israel while ignoring Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
But Blinken, who has sought to repair ties with the Palestinians badly damaged under Trump, said: "We all must build on these relationships and growing normalization to make tangible improvements in the lives of Palestinians, and to make progress toward the long-standing goal of advancing negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)
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