update deskMiddle East

Blinken considers new envoy to bolster Abraham Accords

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro is reportedly a top pick.

Dan Shapiro. Source: Twitter.
Dan Shapiro. Source: Twitter.

The Biden administration says it plans to expand the 2020  Abraham Accords begun under former President Donald Trump and is determining an appointee to work towards increasing Israeli ties with Arab and Muslim-majority countries.

Dan Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017, was named by three officials to Axios as the person currently under review. He would join White House officials currently working towards normalization with Saudi Arabia. Such a move would be in line with a recent bipartisan congressional resolution calling for strengthening the Abraham Accords.

Shapiro previously said in congressional testimony that the effort was “a subject I am passionate about,” and that the agreement was “the most positive, most hopeful thing to happen in the Middle East in years.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not officially decided yet on Shapiro.

The Biden administration had previously thought about creating the role, and Shapiro was a candidate at the time. Pushback from the U.S. State Department, which had wanted to manage the Middle East normalization efforts, ultimately scuttled the envoy appointment.

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