US to hold first summit of ‘West Asia Quad’ with India, Israel and UAE
The US has said that it will hold the first summit of leaders of a new group of four nations with India, Israel, and the UAE, albeit virtually, during President Joe Biden`s visit next month to West Asia. The group is called I2U2 – for India and Israel whose names begin with the letter “I” and the US and UAE that begin with the letter “U” – and it will be focused on West Asia. The first summit will be held during Biden`s visit to Israel, the first leg of his maiden trip as President to West Asia from July 13 to 16. He will also visit the West Bank, home to the state of Palestine, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet around a dozen regional leaders.
A senior White House official on a background call with reporters about the visit said that the new initiative will be launched in a virtual call that Biden will hold with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel`s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, and UAE`s President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
They will discuss security and “areas of cooperation across hemispheres where UAE and Israel serve as important innovation hubs”, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and went on to describe the meeting as a “unique engagement”. No other details were available about this new initiative, its goals, and reach.
A spokesperson for the White House`s National Security Council said I2U2 was inaugurated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in October 2021 and the virtual summit is a follow on “from that initial touch point”.
“I2U2 is an entirely new grouping of partners that includes the United States, Israel, India, and the UAE. It is focused on expanding economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and coordination on other vital shared interests,” the spokesperson said.
Since coming into office in January 2021, Biden has launched several multilateral dialogues and initiatives such as a three-nation group with Australia and the United Kingdom called AUKUS and a Quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan; and deepened and strengthened existing platforms such as the Quad with India, Australia and Japan, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He has also returned the United States to several world bodies that it had left under former President Donald Trump.