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Monday, 27 June 2022

Regional leaders meet for Negev summit #2 ahead of Biden visit, renewed Iranian nuclear talks

A second Negev summit will aim to cement new regional alliances ahead of a visit to Saudi Arabia in July by US President Joe Biden, and amid reports that a new round of talks on reviving the US-Iran 2015 nuclear agreement is imminent. Israeli officials will meet today with officials from Bahrain, UAE, Morocco, Egypt, and the US in Manama, according to tweets by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Among the topics discussed will be a new “regional security architecture,” Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General Oded Joseph told reporters, according to the Jerusalem Post. Iran will also be on the table, Joseph said, after Tehran and the EU earlier this week said Iran’s indirect talks with the US on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact would restart soon.

The Negev realignment could become a bigger deal: The regional group will continue to hold meetings, Joseph reportedly said, and could even expand to one day include Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The first meeting Arab-Israeli sit-down in the Negev in April was described by the international press as a major realignment of regional alliances, but was only expected to take place annually going forward.

Speaking of regional re-alignments: High-ranking Arab and Israeli military officials gathered in March for an unusual and previously undisclosed meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, to discuss Iran’s missile and drone threat, the WSJ reports. The meeting included officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain, along with the IDF chief of staff and the head of the US Central Command, marking the first meeting of military officials from these countries.

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