UAE, Bahrain deal with Israel will brighten future of youth in region: US official

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain’s FM Abdullatif Al Zayani and UAE FM Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan wave from the White House balcony, Sept. 15, 2020. (Reuters)

The United States did not pressure the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain to sign a normalization deal with Israel, but doing so will brighten the future for young people in the region and increase national security and economic prosperity, a senior US official said Thursday.

“They are doing this on their own, recognizing their national security interests,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking told reporters during a phone briefing.

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The UAE, Bahrain and Israel signed the Abraham Accords on Tuesday, which increased the number of Arab countries signing peace deals with Israel to four. Egypt and Jordan were the first two.

Lenderking spoke of US optimism for more countries to come forward and do the same soon. “We are very optimistic about the possibilities ahead [with the Abraham Accords], which open up … opportunities for the young people of the Middle East region,” he said.

Asked about Qatar’s response to the Abraham Accords, Lenderking noted Doha’s yearslong relationship with Israel. “Qatari officials are very open about their relationship with Israel,” the US diplomat said, adding that each other would move at its own pace to normalize ties with Tel Aviv.

When Al Arabiya English asked if Turkey was pressuring Qatar not to push ahead with a deal with Israel, Lenderking said Ankara was “not only wrong but against the trend” in its condemnation of the Abraham Accords.

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Last Update: Thursday, 17 September 2020 KSA 20:02 - GMT 17:02
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