The U.S. “strongly supports” the effort to “build bridges and opportunity” across the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said upon welcoming the Negev Forum Working Groups hosted by the United Arab Emirates from Jan. 9-10 in Abu Dhabi.

Senior officials from the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. discussed opportunities to advance initiatives that encourage regional integration, cooperation and development for the benefit of their populations and the wider region.

“I thank the United Arab Emirates for hosting this important gathering,” Blinken in a statement.

The Negev Forum Steering Committee released the Negev Forum Regional Cooperation Framework, adopted Nov. 10, 2022, codifying the structure and goal of the forum and recognizing the potential to build networks of cooperation to advance common interests, regional stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

The framework affirmed that these relations can be harnessed to create momentum in Israeli-Palestinian relations, towards a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as part of efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

“The United States will continue to work with our partners in the region to promote and implement this vision,” Blinken’s said, “including at the upcoming Negev Forum Ministerial.”

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