Lapid: The Negev summit will be a “regular forum”

Wrapping the Negev conference that brought together four Arab foreign ministers and the US secretary of state to the Negev kibbutz of Sde Boker, FM Yair Lapid announced on Monday that the event will be a regular forum, taking place each year in one of the participant’s desert regions. Standing alongside the foreign ministers of Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and the United Arab Emirates, he said: “What we are doing here is making history, building a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation.”

While the unique event was clearly a show of unity against Iran, no joint communique was issued, only separate speeches made each of the top diplomats that warmly praised Israel for inviting them and condemned the terrorist attack in Hadera on Sunday. The need to pursue the Palestinian issue was also mentioned by Secretary Antony Blinken. The UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan said that Egypt had “shown us leadership 43 years ago” in legitimizing Israel — an Israel, he stressed, that “has been part of this region for a very long time. We lost those 43 years,” he said, looking at his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. Now, “we are just trying to follow your footsteps.”

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