Leaders of Egypt, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates have met for a three-way summit, the first of its kind since the UAE normalised relations with Israel, with the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, as well as the Iran nuclear deal, on the agenda.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hosted the talks on Tuesday at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
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Bennett and Mohammed had also held bilateral talks with el-Sisi on Monday.
Egypt’s presidency said the three leaders discussed energy, market stability, and food security.
A statement from Bennett’s office said, “The leaders discussed the ties between the three countries in the context of recent developments in the world and the region, and the ways to strengthen them on all levels.”
Israeli media said the leaders also addressed reports that Iran and Western powers, including the United States, are close to a deal to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, which Israel vehemently opposes.
Egypt, in particular, is facing challenges in the areas of energy and food security after the war in Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring, prompting Cairo on Monday to devalue its currency by 14 percent.
The war has also left Egypt facing higher costs for its substantial wheat import needs, as well as a loss in tourism revenue from Russian and Ukrainian visitors to Red Sea resorts. Russia and Ukraine are the main suppliers of wheat to Egypt, which is often the world’s largest importer.
Egypt, Israel, and the UAE have emerged as an Arab-Israeli axis after Abu Dhabi normalised ties with Israel.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, after decades of enmity and conflict.
Since then, Egypt and Israel have coordinated on security matters, and control access into and out of the occupied Gaza Strip, maintaining a blockade on the Hamas-run Palestinian territory since 2008.
In 2020, the UAE became the third Arab country to forge diplomatic ties under a series of US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords.
Gulf states are not parties to the talks to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran, which they have criticised for not addressing Iran’s missiles programme and regional proxies, including in Yemen.
Bennett said last month that a US-Iranian deal taking shape to restore the nuclear accord is weaker than the original arrangement, and would lead to a more “violent” Middle East.
Last September, Bennett visited Egypt and discussed bilateral relations, security, and the economy with el-Sisi, in the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to the country in a decade.