Negev Forum: From the Israeli desert to Dakhla in Morocco


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The ministers of the United States, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Bahrain displayed a common front, unprecedented at the last summit held in the Negev Desert.

The partners of the «Abraham Agreements» had notably shown their ambition to remain united in the face of insecurity, especially that of Iran.

According to the Israeli press, Morocco will host the second ministerial meeting of the Negev Forum in January.

The pearl of the south of Morocco to which the honor would belong, as had affirmed the head of the Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita, by calling for a «spirit of the Negev, that of coexistence» had given appointment to his counterparts “in another desert, but with the same spirit”.

In the same matter, even if the place had not been officially specified, it is the pearl of the Moroccan south that will host this event in January. Two months later, the United Arab Emirates will host the working groups of the Negev Forum as well as in Manama (Bahrain), at the meeting of senior officials of these nations represented at the Arab-Israeli summit of the Negev.

Although the dates have not yet been finalized, the United Arab Emirates is preparing to host the working groups of the Negev Forum – six panels to advance regional security projects. Food security and water, energy, health, education and tourism – in November. As Morocco prepares to host the second annual ministerial meeting in January, according to four US and Middle Eastern diplomats who spoke anonymously, “The Times Of Israel”.

It is rumoured that various member countries of the Negev Forum are trying to convince Jordan to join the alliance.  Indeed, as the countries of the Negev Forum prepare for their upcoming gatherings in the coming months, efforts to bring Jordan into the fold have intensified, U.S. and Middle Eastern diplomats told The Times of Israel.

So far, Amman has been remarkably absent from meetings of the Negev Forum with representatives of the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt. Jordanian officials said that they were not ready to join the Negev Forum until the Palestinians were also at the table.

The Palestinian Authority itself, has shown no interest in working with a regional initiative that it sees as an attempt to set aside its diplomatic agenda. However, the members of the Negev Forum had already laid the foundations for this possibility, by publishing a joint declaration at the end of the June meeting of the Governing Board.

They stated that “working group chairs, with the consensus of members, may invite non-member participants to participate in specific initiatives where their participation provides a direct benefit to the stated objective of the initiative.” Also in this spirit it must be said that a surprise is not to be ruled out soon in Dakhla, on either side.

The Negev Summit should be held on a regular basis in each member country. Logically then it is the Kingdom that should host the next edition in January.

Officially, no date for this event has yet been announced by the Moroccan authorities, but the Kingdom is preparing it, it is said. The wish of Moroccan diplomacy is to see Palestine participate in the negotiations of the Negev. Morocco and Egypt, “have already lobbied for Palestine’s participation in the forum,” reports The Times of Israel.

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