I welcome the inaugural meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups hosted by the United Arab Emirates on January 9-10, in Abu Dhabi. Senior officials from the Governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States discussed opportunities to advance initiatives that encourage regional integration, cooperation, and development, for the benefit of their populations and the wider region. These include initiatives that could strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people. The United States strongly supports this effort to build bridges and opportunity across the region. I thank the United Arab Emirates for hosting this important gathering.
The Negev Forum Steering Committee also released the adopted November 10, 2022, codifying the structure and goals of the Forum and recognizing the potential to build networks of cooperation to advance common interests, regional stability, and prosperity in the Middle East. The Framework affirmed that these relations can be harnessed to create momentum in Israeli-Palestinian relations, towards a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and as part of efforts to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace.
The United States will continue to work with our partners in the region to promote and implement this vision, including at the upcoming Negev Forum Ministerial.