I2U2 Summit with India, Israel, UAE next month: US

New York: US President Joe Biden will host a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to West Asia from July 13 to 16.

A senior US administration official told reporters in a background call that the new grouping will be called “I2U2” — “I” for India and Israel and “U” for the US and UAE.

The first summit will be held during Biden’s visit to Israel, the first leg of his maiden trip as President to West Asia from July 13 to 16. He will also visit the West Bank, home to the state of Palestine, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet around a dozen regional leaders.

A senior White House official on a background call with reporters about the visit said that the new initiative will be launched in a virtual call that Biden will hold with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, and UAE’s President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

They will discuss security and “areas of cooperation across hemispheres where UAE and Israel serve as important innovation hubs”, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and went on to describe the meeting as a “unique engagement”. No other details were available about this new initiative, its goals, and reach.

A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said I2U2 was inaugurated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in October 2021 and the virtual summit is a follow on “from that initial touch point”.

Since coming into office in January 2021, Biden has launched several multilateral dialogues and initiatives such as a three-nation group with Australia and the United Kingdom called AUKUS and a Quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan; and deepened and strengthened existing platforms such as the Quad with India, Australia and Japan, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He has also returned the United States to several world bodies that it had left under former President Donald Trump.

The July 13-16 visit will be Biden’s first to a region considered one of the most volatile in the world. It is expected to reinforce US’s “iron-clad commitment” to Israel’s security and prosperity and continue the process of its integration into the region under the Abraham Accords brokered by Trump between Israel on the one hand and the UAE and Bahrain on the other in 2020; an agreement with Morocco followed.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: indianexpress.com)

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