Israeli foreign minister talks about the Middle East with Blinken

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Foreign Minister discussed efforts to establish diplomatic relations with other Middle Eastern countries in a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, the ministry said.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington was working hard to forge ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia ahead of his visit to the kingdom last week, but the Israeli statement did not specify any country.

“Foreign Minister Eli Cohen updated the Secretary of State on recent Israeli activity aimed at promoting regional stability and the two discussed moving forward with additional normalization measures, as part of the Expanding and Deepening Accords. of Abraham,” the statement said.

That was in reference to the 2020 US-brokered agreements Israel signed with Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

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Saudi Arabia signaled approval of the 2020 accords but has refrained from doing the same, saying Palestinian goals for statehood must first be addressed.

Normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia has been a major goal set by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Foreign Minister Cohen said last month that such a move was “on the table.”

However, such prospects have been clouded by Riyadh’s tensions with US President Joe Biden, its recent rapprochement with regional foe Iran and the rise of the far-right Israeli government of Netanyahu.

(Reporting by Henriette Chacar; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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