External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held the first “productive” quadripartite meeting with his counterparts from the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates on ways to expand economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade and enhancing maritime security.
Jaishankar, who is currently on a five-day visit to Israel, was accompanied by his home country’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, during the virtual meeting on Monday. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan participated virtually as the four leaders exchanged views on common issues of interest in the region.
“First fruitful meeting with Israeli APM, FMYairLapid, UAE FMABZayed and US Secretary of State @SecBlinken this evening,” Jaishankar said in a tweet. Agree to speed up.”
“You three are among the closest, if not the closest, relationships we have,” Jaishankar said in his brief comment, and agreed with Blinken that this type of forum could work much better than three different bilateral engagements, citing the fight against COVID-19 as an example. On the benefits of such cooperative mechanisms as bilateral relations tend to fail.
“I think it’s very clear that on the big issues of our time we all think very similarly and what it would be helpful if we could agree on some practical things to work on,” Jaishankar said. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken and his three counterparts “discussed expanding economic and political cooperation” in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and increasing maritime security.
The foreign ministers also discussed people-to-people relationships in technology and science, and how to support global public health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blinken said in a tweet on Twitter that the meeting discussed “common issues of interest in the region and the world, and the importance of expanding our economic and political cooperation.” In his remarks, Blinken described Israel, the UAE and India as three of our “most strategic partners”.
By bringing friends together in new ways, we are making these partnerships greater than the sum of their parts,” he said. “I think that’s what this gathering is about. As I sit here in Washington I can simply say that with Israel, the UAE and India we have three of our most strategic partners. Given the many overlapping interests – energy, climate, trade, regional security – it seems This is a really good and interesting idea to try and use this new format and very complementary capabilities in many areas to see more things being done,” Blinken said.
Lapid, who is also the alternate prime minister of Israel, noted that “one of the things we’re looking for is synergies, and that’s what we’ll try to create after this meeting.” “Synergies that will help us work together in all areas that occupy us. Around this schedule, we have a unique set of capabilities, knowledge and expertise that can be used to create the network we all want to create.” The Israeli leader felt that the key to achieving what they were aiming for was to move quickly from government to government to company to company.
He stressed the need for this quadripartite gathering to quickly put in place the appropriate mechanisms to translate efforts into real action around the world. Al Nahyan thanked Emirati Blinken and Lapid for “proposing the idea” of creating this type of forum to promote cooperation.
Speaking about India, the UAE minister said: “Minister Jaishankar is an old friend, as I can say, but India and the UAE also have a strong and diverse relationship.” Turning to the bureaucratic obstacles that often slow down such initiatives, Al Nahyan suggested that companies be surprised by the opportunities, and then note how the business community responds, in terms of putting forward a solid plan. Subsequently, the four foreign ministers engaged in closed-door discussion to draw up a strategy to make this four-way cooperative plan a reality.
Price said that Blinken reiterated the Biden administration’s support for Abraham’s agreements and normalization agreements and discussed future opportunities for cooperation in the region and the world, and reports indicated that a new four-way agreement was signed last year.
In August 2020, Israel, the UAE, and the United States signed the Ibrahim Accords. The agreement helped Israel and the UAE normalize their relations, and India welcomed the agreement, saying that it “always supports peace and stability in West Asia which is our extended neighbourhood.” India and Israel elevated bilateral relations to the level of a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July 2017. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has focused on expanding the knowledge-based partnership, which includes cooperation in innovation and research, including promoting the ” Made in India.