WASHINGTON — As the Biden administration pursues a historic deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the US official tasked with expanding the Abraham Accords hopes an upcoming meeting of Israel and several Arab states will lay the groundwork for a much broader regional coalition.
The State Department’s new Senior Adviser for Regional Integration Daniel Shapiro told Al-Monitor he is focused on the “expanding normalization agenda,” including through the so-called Negev Forum that aims to cement the emerging economic and diplomatic ties between Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbors.
For the first time on Israeli soil, the top diplomats from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt joined their counterparts from Israel and the United States for a groundbreaking summit in March 2022 that reflected the new alignments reshaping the Middle East.
The rare display of cooperation came as the Biden administration sought to contain Iran, mend Palestinian-Israeli ties and blunt China’s rising influence in the region. Key to that effort is the brokering of normalized ties between Israel and the most powerful Arab country, Saudi Arabia.