Questioned DFAT’s view on the normalisation agreements between Israel and other countries in the Middle East.
Could I just ask the department for their views on the Abraham Accords and the normalisation of agreements that Israel has entered into with Bahrain, the UAE and—I’ve forgotten the third one. There was potentially an agreement to be signed with Yemen, I think.
Whole interaction with Mr Tim Yeend (Associate Secretary, Trade and Investment Group, DFAT) and Mr Marc Innes-Brown PSM (First Assistant Secretary, Middle East and Africa Division, DFAT) during Senate Estimates (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio).
Senator KITCHING: I was going to go to LNG exports, but could I just ask the department for their views on the Abraham Accords and the normalisation of agreements that Israel has entered into with Bahrain, the UAE and—I’ve forgotten the third one. There was potentially an agreement to be signed with Yemen, I think.
Mr Yeend : I might ask my colleague Mr Innes-Brown to answer that question.
Mr Innes-Brown : Sure. One of the other countries was Morocco, and I think there have been some tentative agreements with one or two other countries as well. There have been important and welcome developments in the region; I think those steps have been important for regional stability and the general conduct and atmospherics of international relations.
In relation to the UAE, those normalisation arrangements are probably most advanced. Most recently, the President of Israel visited the UAE in quite an historic visit. As I understand it, shortly, the UAE foreign minister is planning to visit Israel, and there has been quite an extensive connectivity—from a small base but growing rapidly—between the two commercial sectors, and there’s been strong interest in expanded cooperation in a range of areas. So it’s very welcome, and, yes, with varying degrees of follow-up. As I said, as I understand it, the UAE is the most advanced.
Senator KITCHING: I think the Israeli prime minister was this week visiting Bahrain, so I think that’s very good as well. And, obviously, they have been a reliable trading partner even before the normalisation of relations agreements.