The US took several measures including the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to instill confidence in America’s promises to the Gulf region before the signing of the Abraham Accords, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview published on YouTube.
“There were some very difficult issues that had to be overcome,” he said, adding that many of the leaders who signed on to the peace agreement reportedly asked that the US was in the mix to “backstop” the commitment.
However, the former US government official credited the leaders for working with the future in mind as the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco normalized ties with Israel under a US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords in 2020.
“Whatever enmity may have been before historically no longer makes sense, and they were better off acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish homeland,” Pompeo said in an interview published on the ‘Yalla’ YouTube channel.
Current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on more Arab nations to recognize Israel as he met four ministers on the anniversary of a normalization accord in 2021.
“We will encourage more countries to follow the lead of the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy,” Blinken was quoted as saying in an AFP report.
The agreement has translated into changes to local reform and foreign affairs agreements between Israel and other Gulf countries.
“For ordinary people [in the Gulf], it means you can get on a airplane and fly to Tel Aviv,” said Pompeo, pointing at the easing restrictions between some Gulf nations and Israel.
For instance, Israel and the UAE concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement on April 1.
The trade agreement includes 95 percent of traded products, which will be customs free, immediately or gradually, including food, agriculture and cosmetic products, as well as medical equipment and medicine.
Even local changes to the law like the UAE and Israel recognizing the other’s driving licenses is seen as a progressive move that will ease the needs of visitors and businesses alike.