KT Exclusive: Best of Abraham Accords is yet to come, says top diplomat Mike Pompeo
He predicted that other countries will soon follow in the footsteps of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan
The historic Abraham Accords may have seemed like they "happened in an instant", but they took a lot of hard work, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
"It took the right set of leaders being in place," he added.
The American diplomat played a significant role in bringing the UAE, Israel and Bahrain together to sign a historical peace agreement that, as he stated, truly ushered in “a new era in the Middle East”.
His comments come on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the milestone event that took place on September 15 last year in Washington DC.
A peace that benefits people
Pompeo asserted that the people in the countries that signed the treaty would want their leadership to continue on the path for peace, because it has put them in a better position. "They will thank their leadership for the remarkable courage they exhibited in signing these agreements," he stated.
He also predicted that other countries will soon follow in the footsteps of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, because they will realise “they're missing out on something really good for their own people".
"This is why, I believe, more and more countries will ultimately recognise the right of Israel to exist,” he added.
The normalisation of relations has already seen a positive impact on the economies of the countries involved. Business partnerships between Israel and the UAE alone, for instance, created in the year since the Accords were signed, amount to more than $675.22 million.
Israel’s advanced technology and innovation combined with the UAE’s capital investment have created a leading example for successful business models that other peace partners could follow.
The former American Secretary of State also highlighted the economical synergy that is being created between the regional peace partners and the United States. He noted that there has been an understanding among the business communities in the US — including business leaders in Silicon Valley and the venture community in New York — that there are real opportunities in the region.
“Israel has a huge technology hub and there is a big financial centre in Dubai. These things provide real synergy between the United States, the Emirates and Israel… I think the United States will be an important player in helping build out the Abraham Accords as commercially good,” he said.
A new vision
Pompeo revealed that the countries due to join the peace agreements with Israel are not based only in the Middle East and North Africa. “We are working with Islamic countries in Asia as well,” he said.
He added that Israel does not want aggression with respect to any Arab or Muslim country.
Formalising peace takes a bit of time and the right set of leaders to meet the right people, he said, expressing confidence that eventually other countries “will ultimately get to this place as well”.
The Abraham Accords represented a new vision that others didn’t think was possible to achieve, Pompeo noted.
“We want good things for the Palestinian people” he said, adding, “You have to be willing to engage in the process.
“We did it with no war… and we did it in a way that recognised the dignity of every individual living in the Middle East,” he said.
The peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East are the morally right thing to do, as they promote stability in the entire region and are in America’s security interests, he added.
“We should be an active participant in encouraging these leaders to make that decision.”
When asked about the concerns that some US allies have over the hasty American withdrawal from Afghanistan, Secretary Pompeo responded: “We haven't gotten it right every time, but partnering with the United States has proven, over the last couple of hundred years, to be the winning proposition.
He concluded by saying that America’s allies should continue standing by the US, encourage them when they get it right, and tell them when they get it wrong.
“The United States remains the most exceptional nation in the history of civilisation. I think every country should want to be a friend and partner.”
(Hayvi Bouzo is a Syrian-born American broadcast journalist and commentator. She is the creator and host of the TV show Middle East Rise. Follow Hayvi on Twitter @Hayvi Bouzo and on Facebook.)
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