Diplomats from several Arab countries declined to participate in a summit in Israel to mark the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords – a deal to normalize ties with Israel – because they feared being seen as interfering in the country's upcoming elections.
Invitees have recently sent Israel a message voicing their concerns regarding the proximity of September's event to the Israeli elections set to take place on November 1, leading the hosts to shelve the initiative.
“It is with great sadness that we are forced to postpone the conference marking the two-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords due to election exigencies, and in order to not drag our partners into the campaign,” said Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freige, whose ministry initiated the event, adding that the ministry is now working to hold an alternative summit after the elections.
The ministry began promoting the conference before the Knesset was dispersed, as the major event to mark two years since the accords signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
It was intended to show the public the significant progress made in the relations of the participating countries, including the approval of a host of economic and academic agreements.
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While most countries declined the invitation, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita confirmed his participation back in July. Bourita is scheduled to visit Israel in September in any case in order to advance the opening of the Moroccan embassy.
Since the accords were signed at the White House in September 2020, the countries’ foreign ministers and leaders held several meetings to herald the deepening ties, which have mainly manifested in the economic and military spheres.
In March, the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, and the U.S. arrived in Sde Boker to hold the “Negev Conference,” which is meant to become a regular annual event.
Last September, the parties marked the first anniversary of the accords in a festive video conference hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and attended by the Israeli and Moroccan foreign ministers, as well as the diplomatic adviser of the UAE’s president and the American ambassador to Bahrain. Sudan did not send representatives to attend, even though it also signed a peace agreement in Israel.
President Joe Biden's administration has expressed its desire to follow in the footsteps of the President Trump, under whom the accords were signed, and help develop relations between Israel and other regional countries.