Dr Mike Evans

Leaders from Israel and six Middle Eastern nations hold first multilateral meeting

Leaders from Israel joined representatives from UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan last week in an unprecedented new gathering of the seven nations.

The countries involved in the meetings were dubbed the N7: N for normalization with Israel and seven the number of nations represented. The event was reportedly the culmination of six months of planning.

The announcement regarding the meeting comes as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken affirmed the nation’s support of the Abraham Accords at the one-year anniversary of the agreement’s signing by leaders from Israel, UAE, and Bahrain at The White House.

“When it comes to the Abraham Accords, the Biden administration strongly supports states normalizing relations with Israel. We welcome efforts by think tanks, civil society, and others to advance normalization efforts,” Blinken said.

Much has changed since the accords were signed. Then-US president Donald Trump coordinated the efforts directed largely by his aide, Jared Kushner. Today, with US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the accords will seek to both stay strong and move forward in perhaps new efforts for all countries involved.

Cultural, educational, and economic opportunities were the topics of many discussions, as the N7 nations seek to strengthen their economies following the struggles associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the nations share a goal of thwarting Iran’s nuclear development and quest for power in the region. At his recent address to the UN General Assembly, Bennett called upon the international community to join in the resistance to Iran’s nuclear weapon development.

The gathering offers a look at what a future Middle East, with closer coordination among its neighbors, could resemble. However, lingering problems, such as the rejection of normalization with Israel by the Palestinian Authority, remain to pose challenges as the new coalition seeks to pursue progress in the midst of many political agendas.