Bahrain hosts first meeting of Steering Committee of Negev Forum

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Manama, June 27 (BNA): The Kingdom of Bahrain hosted today the first meeting of the Steering Committee of the Negev Forum, with the participation of senior officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Morocco, the United States of America, and the State of Israel, in order to follow up on the outcomes of the Negev Summit that brought together Their Highnesses and Excellencies, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the six countries on March 28.

The meeting was attended by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs, Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, Ambassador Alon Ushpiz, the Director General of Bilateral Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Ambassador Fouad Yazough, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Yael Lempert, the Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Minister’s Office Affairs in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mohammed Tharwat Salim, and the Director of Policy Planning Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the United Arab Emirates, Abdulrahman Ali Al-Neyadi.

Dr. Shaikh Abdullah welcomed the delegations of diplomats, expressing the Kingdom’s pride in organising the first meeting of the Steering Committee of the Negev Summit, to build on what has been achieved in setting frameworks and sustainable mechanisms to further strengthen cooperation and coordination in the face of regional and international threats and achieve peace and security.

He noted that the meeting identified the tasks of the working groups to enhance cooperation and exchange of experiences between the participating countries in various economic, health, educational, security and environmental fields, with the aim of strengthening the stability of the Middle East region, and achieving the aspirations of its people.

In a joint statement, the senior officials in the foreign ministries of the participating countries, outlined a framework document for the Negev Forum, setting out the objectives of the forum, and the working methods of its four-part structure: the Foreign Ministers’ ministerial meeting, the Presidency, the Steering Committee, and the Working Groups.

The statement showed that six working groups were approved in the areas of: clean energy, education and coexistence, food and water security, health, regional security, and tourism, to meet regularly during the year and submit their reports to the Steering Committee. It also stressed the importance of benefiting from the relations between Israel and the Arab countries in achieving tangible progress in the Israeli-Palestinian relations, and resolving the current conflict through negotiations, as an integral part of the efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.

The Coordination Committee of the Negev Forum welcomed the holding of the ministerial meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers of the six countries annually, as it is the principal governing body of the forum, where the State of Israel continues as Negev Forum President until the next ministerial gathering.

A press conference was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Zallaq, during which Dr. Shaikh Abdullah affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain’s hosting of this historic meeting reflects its firm commitment, under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to promoting peace, stability, tolerance, coexistence and prosperity for the future of the region and future generations.

He explained that the goal of the Negev Summit is to build a regional framework to expand cooperation and coordination among member states, exchange experiences in the fields of scientific and technical innovation and promote sustainable development in its various aspects.

The senior officials of the Foreign Ministries of the countries participating in the Negev Forum expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting the meeting. They also valued the Kingdom’s support for peace, stability and regional prosperity.