The United States is working to expand the normalization agreements between Israel and Arab nations, known as the Abraham Accords, and hopes restoring such ties can be leveraged to advance progress on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, senior State Department officials said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
In a briefing with reporters previewing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's meetings on Wednesday with his Israeli and Emirati counterparts, officials stressed that the Abraham Accords were not a substitute for the two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
"We continue to welcome the economic cooperation between Israel and all countries in the region. We hope that normalization can be leveraged to advance progress on the Israeli-Palestinian tracks," said one senior State Department official quoted by Reuters.
Blinken will meet with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan separately at the State Department on Wednesday. He will then host a trilateral meeting with both of them, the first of its kind.
The Abraham Accords were signed between the leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain last September. The following month, Israel and Sudan announced they would normalize relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December.
While the accords were an initiative of former US President Donald Trump, they have been backed by the Biden administration as well.
Blinken said shortly after he took office that the Biden administration supports the Abraham Accords.
He recently hosted a virtual meeting with ministers from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco in which he called on more Arab nations to recognize Israel.
The US officials who spoke on Tuesday did not say precisely how Washington aimed to use the normalization agreements as a tool to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian Arab issue.
"Biden administration has started out with a clear commitment to the two-state solution. We continue on with that commitment. We seek to advance as we can, when we can, as best we can," one of the US officials said, according to Reuters.
The Biden administration’s support for the two-state solution is a policy shift from the previous administration of Trump.
While Trump said while in office he thought the two-state solution “works best”, he also said he would be comfortable with what the sides ultimately decide on.