Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US top diplomat in Israel for landmark Arab talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel Sunday for a “historic” meeting with Arab countries which have normalised relations with the Jewish state in the US-brokered Abraham Accords. Blinken, who arrived in Tel Aviv Saturday evening, will meet with his counterparts from Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in the Negev desert Sunday and Monday to mark the shift in Arab-Israeli relations that began in late 2020. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described it as a “historic summit”. (https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/us-top-diplomat-in-israel-for-landmark-arab-talks/ar-AAVx5Oh) Blinken’s visit, the first stop in a trip that will also take him to the West Bank, Algeria and Morocco — where he will hold talks with the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed — is focused in part on building support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion. US officials say two other key issues are on the agenda for the trip: quelling the Jewish state’s worries about a looming nuclear deal with Iran, and discussing the potential global wheat shortage caused by the Ukraine war that could deal a heavy blow to the import-dependent Middle East.

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