EDA hosts US, UAE officials in discussion on historic Abraham Accords
The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) on Thursday virtually hosted Avi Berkowitz, Assistant to the US President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, along with Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US and Minister of State, in its latest ‘EDA Next 50 Talks’.
The discussion titled ‘The Abraham Accords and U.S. Foreign Policy’ was moderated by Bernardino León, Director-General of the EDA, and attended by EDA’s professors, researchers and staff, along with a number of the UAE’s leading future diplomats.
The session shed light on how the historic Abraham Accords signed by the UAE and Israel in September 2020, support and demonstrate the benefits of peace for the Middle East region.
“It is an honour to be here today and speak about something that is so important to me and something that Ambassador Al Otaiba and I worked so hard on,” Berkowitz said.
“There were a lot of countries that were thinking of ways to improve their relationship with Israel, but there are a lot of risks in that – and it takes a lot of courage. The UAE and the leaders of the UAE took courage in taking that step, which inspired other countries to also show courage,” he added.
Berkowitz pointed out that when it comes to negotiating, diplomats must consider what brings value to their country.
He added that from the moment the Abraham Accords were signed, the vast majority of Israelis preferred the outcome of the agreement and “forgot about the annexation” of the West Bank territory.
“We believe this deal is a big game-changer for the region. The UAE shows a great model for tolerance. I couldn’t be prouder to work with the UAE, as a Jewish person and as an American. I think the Abraham Accords put the UAE in a new league, it took tremendous courage and people are now approaching the UAE in a different light,” he added.
For his part, Al Otaiba, said, “The Abraham Accords were a win for diplomacy. Diplomacy gets the credit for achieving something that the region desperately needed. The Abraham Accords set off a chain reaction of events, where the full outcome will appear much later.”
“We have proven that we are not the only ones who can do this successfully, but three other countries proved this as well, within a matter of four months,” he added.
He noted that negotiation skills were key in the moments leading up to the Abraham Accords.
The Ambassador advised the EDA’s trainee diplomats to focus on building trust and transparent relationships in their diplomatic career.
León, in turn, stated, “It was an honour to welcome two of the main driving forces behind the historic Abraham Accords at our latest ‘EDA Next 50 Talks.’ Our guest speakers provided our students and future diplomats of the UAE with special insights on the necessary diplomatic skills needed to negotiate and sign a historic peace deal, the most important of which is trust in the other party as well as courage to be a trailblazer in forging peaceful relations.”
“The Abraham Accords prove that diplomacy, cooperation, understanding and tolerance can leave conflicts and disputes in the past, and move forward to a hopeful future – in order to improve the lives of generations to come,” he concluded.