With a schedule of meetings with officials from the host countries, Secretary of State Blinken carries out an important mission to advance the US-Egypt strategic partnership as well as peace and security in the Middle East and Africa, including supporting elections in Libya and political process in Sudan. In particular, the US diplomat wished to discuss Washington’s long-term support for Israel’s security, the integration of Israel’s ally in the region, and Israel-Palestinian relations.
In the West Bank, the top US diplomat will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Palestinian officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, the importance of a two-state solution, political reforms, as well as the further strengthening of US relations with the Palestinians. During his visit, Blinken will emphasise to Israeli and Palestinian leaders the need to take steps to de-escalate tensions to end the violence, the US State Department said. Blinken will also discuss the importance of maintaining the historic status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in both words and actions.
The US wishes to promote cooperation and partnership with Egypt as a pillar of security and stability in the Middle East, especially in the context that the regional and international situation is witnessing many uncertainties. During a recent visit to Cairo, CIA Director William Burns discussed with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi measures to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries. President El-Sisi highly appreciated the strength of the Egypt-US relationship, as well as the importance of the policy of strengthening bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially security and intelligence, in order to support efforts to restore stability in the Middle East while the region is facing many challenges.
Meanwhile, for Israel, a key ally of the US in the region, Washington affirms its unwavering commitment to the US-Israel partnership and the security of the Jewish State. The US has always strived to promote common interests, including Israel’s further regional integration, as well as the resolution of common challenges. In his first speech after taking office, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said that relations with the US are the top priority of the Israeli government. He also stressed that there is no substitute for US-Israeli relations. This is a long-term strategic partnership based first and foremost on shared values and interests.
During a visit to Israel in mid-January 2023, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had a meeting and worked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several cabinet members of the host countries to discuss the need to deepen the strategic partnership between the US and Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Adviser Sullivan also discussed the necessary steps to materialise cooperation within the framework of the Abraham Accords on the normalisation of relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab countries mediated by the US.
US Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to the Middle East-North Africa comes at a time when the Jewish State is both facing security challenges, but also facing the opportunity to expand peace and accelerate the Middle East peace process. The heaviest clash in years between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Palestinian militants in the northern West Bank city of Jenin has raised fears of a new wave of violence. Since taking office, US President Biden affirmed his support for a two-state solution. In that context, the US’s promotion of a mediator role to resume negotiations between Israel and Palestine will give hope to reduce tensions between Israel and Palestine, opening an opportunity to revive the Middle East peace process.
Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to the Middle East is expected to help the US strengthen its strategic relationship with its ally Israel and Egypt, important partners of Washington in the region. This is also an opportunity for the US to reaffirm its commitment to a two-state solution and promote negotiations between Israel and Palestine, thus contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East.