Jerusalem, 18 September, 2022 (TPS) — The Government approved Sunday Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s proposal for establishing a regional mechanism – the Negev Forum, which will implement the understandings that resulted in the Negev Summit.
The first Negev Forum, held in March, was attended by six foreign ministers: Lapid, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco Nasser Bourita, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry.
The Negev Summit’s Steering Committee met in June for the first time since its establishment.
Now, the new government decision dictates that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate the necessary professional work in Israel for the Forum. The Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alon Ushpiz, will head the Israeli steering committee and will represent Israel at the multilateral steering committee.
Lapid stated at the beginning of the cabinet meeting that the decision “formalizes and funds the working groups for the Negev Forum, which we established last year together with the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt.”
“These working groups will create economic and security links which, just a few years ago, we could not have even dreamed of. We are working together with entrepreneurs in food-tech, water, energy, tourism and climate, increasing trade between our countries, and are holding a dialogue that strengthens Israel’s security,” he said.
The Directors-General of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Culture and Sport, Energy, Tourism, Health, and Defense will lead the professional work of the Israeli working group, with the participation of the Ministries of Regional Cooperation, Economy, and Finance.