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Menendez, Risch Announce New Effort to Bolster the Abraham Accords and Negev Forum

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement to introduce legislation that seeks to deepen and expand the Abraham Accords and Negev Forum – relationships that are profoundly changing the dynamics in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. The legislation will authorize tangible tools to strengthen and expand the circle of peace, and encourage deeper ties between Abraham Accords members, Negev Forum members, and other key partners.

“A Middle East and North Africa that is at peace, and cooperating with those inside and outside the region to improve the lives of its citizens, is a force multiplier for prosperity and stability,” said Chairman Menendez. “Normalization with Israel brings a host of tangible benefits to those countries that pursue it, and the Abraham Accords and Negev Forum are building on those benefits every day. It is clear to me that the United States should have a whole-of-government approach to regional integration and normalization, key pillars of U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa. This bill seeks to incentivize partners in the region, as well as those outside the region, to want to be a part of an expanded Abraham Accords and Negev Forum framework. I look forward to introducing this bill in the weeks ahead.”

“The Abraham Accords, and similar normalization agreements, have begun to fundamentally transform the Middle East. Strengthening and expanding the circle of friends with Israel must remain a priority, and Congress is prepared to lend its support,” said Ranking Member Risch. “For those countries that have taken the step to normalize with Israel, it’s critical these agreements reap tangible security and economic benefits. I look forward to continued discussions on this important legislation and remain hopeful that all parties can reach agreement for introduction soon.”

Background: The historic Abraham Accords, building on the process of normalization begun in 1979 with the Camp David Accords, is changing the very fabric of the Middle East and North Africa region. The Negev Forum has sought to build on the Abraham Accord’s momentum of normalization with Israel, bring together all the countries seeking peace and prosperity, and multilateralize the process. Together, these steps are moving toward a shared vision of regional integration, cooperation, and development. Since 1979, U.S. leadership has been, and continues to be critical to the success of this regional integration.