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Israel to host regional summit with UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and US

The five-way meeting set for next week comes as a series of regional talks are held across the Middle East
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on 20 February 2022 (AFP)

Israel will host a five-way regional summit next week involving the United States, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Morocco, as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran remain in limbo.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid confirmed the "historic" summit on Friday in a Twitter post. 

In a statement, Lapid said foreign ministers of the five countries will arrive in Israel to participate in a series of diplomatic meetings on Sunday and Monday. 

The UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel in 2020 under the so-called Abraham Accords, which created a new regional dynamic based on mutual concern over Iran.

In 2021, Morrocco followed the UAE and Bahrain in normalising ties with Israel. 

Regional diplomatic meetings

Earlier on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett might soon visit Ankara as the two countries work to improve ties after years of tension.

Erdogan said the visit could possibly lead toward a "new process" in bilateral relations and cooperation on natural gas, according to the Anadolu news agency. 

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A source cited by different Israeli media outlets said that no trip to Ankara was currently planned.

In the past few weeks, meetings across the Middle East have focused on regional security.

On Tuesday, the leaders of Egypt, Israel, and the UAE met in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks on the economic impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Iran's influence, at a time of uncertainty over Washington's security commitment in the region. 

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that Jordan's King Abdullah plans to visit Ramallah next week.

The Jordanian monarch is set to meet President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to ease tensions in the occupied West Bank. 

The visit will be the first by King Abdullah to the occupied Palestinian territories since 2017, Israel’s Kan news channel said. 

It comes weeks before the anniversary of last year's Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.