Israel, U.S., India, UAE Establish Forum for Economic Cooperation

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the virtual meeting. (MFA)

The foreign ministers of the U.S., India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Israel met via video conference on Monday night and decided to establish a forum for economic cooperation.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed ways to expand economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia and to enhance maritime security.

Lapid met with Blinken and bin Zayed in Washington earlier this month and is currently hosting Jaishankar in Israel.

Lapid, who initiated the meeting during his visit to Washington, said at the beginning of the conversation with Jaishankar at his side, that “around this virtual table – there is a unique set of capabilities and knowledge and experience that can be used to create the network we all want to create.”

“I think the word we’re looking for here is synergy because that’s what we’re going to try to create from this meeting. A synergy that will help us work together on infrastructure, digital infrastructure. Transport, ports, trains, maritime security… Everything that concerns us,” he added.

The quartet of top diplomats also discussed joint infrastructure in the fields of transportation, technology, maritime security, economics and trade, and other joint projects.

Each minister will appoint a senior professional to a joint working group that will formulate options for cooperation.

The intention is to hold another physical meeting of four ministers in the coming months at the 2021 World Expo in Dubai to discuss the products of the working groups.

India’s Jaishankar described the event as “a fruitful first meeting.”

The White House stated that Blinken “reiterated the Biden Administration’s support for the Abraham Accords and normalization agreements,” and discussed “future opportunities for collaboration in the region and globally.”