SDE BOKER, Israel — Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken will ask some of the region’s top diplomats to unite in support of another cause: helping Ukraine repel a Russian invasion as he attends a summit on Sunday focused on Middle East solidarity.
This hastily arranged summit The meeting in the Negev desert was dubbed a historic event to showcase the growing diplomatic and economic ties between some Arab countries and Israel, which Mr Blinken said on Sunday was “unthinkable a few years ago” “. But he is most concerned about modest support for Ukraine from countries in the region that also have ties to Russia.
“This is very much part of the conversation we have today, and I will have conversations throughout my visit here, including with our partners,” Mr Blinken said Sunday in Jerusalem with Israeli diplomats Speaking at the press conference of the minister, Yar Rapid.
“We will discuss all the way through to the various ways that Israel and other countries can provide Ukraine with support,” he said. “It’s going to be a conversation that’s been going on throughout this trip.”
Mr Blinken praised Israel’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, including aid to refugees and sending field hospitals to conflict zones.Mr Blinken also pointed to the role of Israel Attempting to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin — one of the few countries still able to do so — to end the crisis, even though it has condemned the invasion.
But so far, Israel has not sent arms to Ukraine and has not joined a broad coalition of the world’s nations, including the seven largest industrial nations, to impose draconian economic sanctions aimed at isolating Russia and hampering its basis for war.
Israel buys about $1 billion worth of coal, wheat, diamonds and other commodities from Russia every year, and shipped about $718 million in agricultural products to Russia in 2020, According to the Economic Opportunity Observatory at MIT. Israel is also coordinating with Russia to prevent a direct but unintentional military conflict in neighboring Syria, where Iranian soldiers or their proxies seek to threaten the Jewish state.
Mr Rapide called the relationship between the US and Israel “unbreakable” but pointed to disagreements over the Biden administration’s attempt to revive the nuclear deal with Iran and open a diplomatic consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem. Blinken said that while Israel has not imposed sanctions on Russia, it is working to prevent Moscow from evading economic penalties.
“I think when our team presented this to the U.S. delegation, I think there’s no doubt that Israel is doing what it can to get involved,” Mr. Rapid said.
In trying to maintain relations with Russia in the context of the war, Israel is not alone in the Middle East.
Russian exports More commodities go to Morocco than to Israel, with coal, oil and chemicals worth around $1.35 billion in 2020. Morocco is due to attend a summit with Israel on Sunday and Monday to celebrate the so-called Abraham Accord and has sought to remain neutral since the invasion, which it hopes to help mediate the crisis by maintaining open communication with Russia and Ukraine.
Morocco also wants to prevent Russia from directly arming itself Frente Polisarioa pro-independence group in Western Sahara.
“Morocco’s relationship with Russia is very ancient, going back centuries,” Ahmed Fauzi, a former top Moroccan diplomat, said in an interview. He also pointed to “good relations” with Ukraine and defended Morocco’s neutrality in the war as “positive.”
“Our idea is not to let the situation get worse,” Mr Faoz said. “It is necessary for other nations to find common ground. A full-scale war is not good for anyone.”
Mr Blinken will travel to Morocco later this week, his first visit as secretary of state.There, he will also meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, who rejected him late last month Condemns Russian aggression, abstains from U.N. Security Council resolution on U.S.-backed resolution.
The Persian Gulf country has also sidestepped U.S. demands to increase oil production for a European market dependent on Russian energy.UAE buys military weapons from Moscow and provides safe haven for Russian oligarchs and others close to Putin people moving to dubai to evade international sanctions.
The disconnect over Russia represents the latest sign of the fractured relationship between Washington and the UAE, which began to cool when President Biden made it clear that the Middle East would not be his administration’s top foreign policy priority. Instead, it seeks to focus on America’s complex relationship with China and, more recently, deterrence against Russia.
This month, the UAE ambassador to Washington described an ongoing “stress test” between the UAE and the US, in part due to the Biden administration’s renegotiation of the nuclear deal with Iran and a dispute More than $23 billion in arms sales The ambassador who could have sent advanced American fighter jets to the UAE, Yousef al-Otaiba, description “Strong days when the relationship is very healthy, and days when the relationship is questioned.”
Bahrain, one of the original signatories of the Abraham Accords, also sought to draw a line between Russia and Ukraine.energy rich kingdom voted yes Security Council resolution condemning the invasion.But it is also continuing to talk to Russia in hopes of finding a way out of the war, including in telephone Two weeks ago, Putin clashed with King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
One Analysis published this month The Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted that a Russian invasion could have wide-ranging economic effects in the region, from demands for more oil and gas exports to Europe to possible shortages of wheat and other products in Ukraine. It concluded that much of the Middle East “may be caught in the middle” as the conflict in Ukraine unfolds.
“Further consequences could increase instability in the region and beyond,” the analysis concluded. “Amid widespread fears that Washington will reduce its focus on the Middle East, the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis could affect perceptions of U.S. view of the interests of the region.”
In Jerusalem, Mr Blinken acknowledged the rise in the price of bread in the Middle East due to wheat shortages, describing the aftermath of the war as “hitting the most vulnerable hardest”.
He said his trip this week, including to Algiers, Algeria and Ramallah in the West Bank, would “relieve some of the burden this is putting on people, including across the Middle East.”
Patrick Kingsley contributed reporting from Sde Boker (Israel) and Aida Alami from Paris.